Saturday 10th to Monday 12th April

Saturday 10th.  A sunny day of light and variable winds and persistent, but thin, high cover saw 41 ATs, with14 private owner flights and all of the available club fleet apart from the DG303 flying.   4 Trial lesson pupils were introduced to gliding and 13 of the flights exceeded an hour, with the Falke contributing a further 4 flights.  Steve Ball and Jon May flew their Duo Discus for 4 minutes under 3 hours, covering 114 kms and taking in Malton, Pocklington and the Tontine. The last leg back to Sutton defeated them so it was out with the engine.  Peter Clay had 2:32 in his Ventus and Klaus Schneider Zapphad 1:42 in the club Astir.  Mike Wood, flying Trial Lesson Pupil Mr Clark made sure the latter got his money’s worth with a flight of 32 minutes in the DG500.

Saturday evening saw a much smarter bunch of pilots and partners assemble at the Golden Fleece in Thirsk for the annual dinner and presentation of Trophies.  After dinner, Martin Withers, chief pilot of the restored Vulcan,who also flew the first Vulcan bombing raid during the Falklands war, gave an interesting account of that raid and the continuing efforts to keep the Vulcan flying.  He then presented the Trophies for 2009. the presentation allowing those present to see the familiar face and the certainly less familiar bodies of Andy Wright.

Sunday 11th.  A light E’ly that was somewhat variable, and initial high cover that burned off over the midday period before returning mid afternoon, allowed 15 ATs, mainly by the club 2 seaters although Bob Calvert flew his Astir and the club Astir also flew.  Initial operations were off runway 20 but then changed to 02 before a third change to 06 later in the day.  The day was marked by a number of annual spin checks in the DG1000 with thermal conditions intially blue and height limited.  Rory O’Conor  optimistically declared an 300 km O/R to Belvoir in his DG800, giving up a valiant struggle on reaching Rufforth on the return leg for a distance of 273.4 km, not getting to 3000 QNH until Syerston on the outward leg.  Back at Sutton Bob Calvert had just under an hour in his Astir while John Marsh/Sam Bidgood had 31 minutes in the K21.

Monday 12th.  Another anticyclonic day saw a light and variable wind that initially started in the NNE, went into the SW before returning to the NE and freshening as the day died.  The start of operations was delayed by low cloud, but cloud base had risen sufficiently by around 1100 hrs for ATs to start off runway 24 with landings on 20.  10 ATswere flown with the club 2 seaters in action and 2 private owners rigging.    2 Trial lesson pupils were flown in  the late morning with a cloud base of around 1400′ QFE, this being very variable.  Conditions improved after lunch with the cloud base rising to over 3000′ QFE allowing Martin Johnson in his DG 600 and Chris Stothard in his Vega to get in some good thermal practice in their flights of 2:34 and 2:15 respectively.  Ian Plant had 2 flights of around an hour in the K21 with pupils Rory McGill and Hugh O’Neill.  The freshening wind from the NE late in the day led to the interesting spectacle of Martin Johnson landing on the eastern side of 02 while simultaneously the K21 with Ian Plant/Hugh O’Neill landed on the western side of 20, all three pilots being well aware of the other glider as they started their approaches.  An expanse of blue sky gradually approached the site from the NW during the late afternoon, significantly  improving the visibility which had been very poor in the morning.  Chris Stothard reported maintaining  zero sink in a straight line under the the boundary between  the clear air and the Cumulus to its east late on in the day.