Saturday 15th. A light SE’ly blew all day allowing 21 ATsto be flown off runway 20, 5 of which were for Trial Lesson pupils and 5 for a group of Scouts. Soaring opportunities were hard to come by with most flights averaging around 20 minutes, but Robin Hutchinson/Fred Brown had 46 minutes in the DG1000 off a 3000′ tow, the DG 1000 having returned from the club expedition to Millfield along with a number of other club and private gliders and a goodly number of YGC pilots. There was a single flight of over an hour with Rob Bailey somehow managing to stay up for 2:50 in his ASG29t, making the most of weak thermic lift in the afternoon. The Falke had a single flight while one of the Pawnees was withdrawn from service due to a wheel bearing failure. Sutton also welcomed a number of visitors from the Nene GC.
Sunday 16th. A day with a light to moderate SE’ly wind, that veered into the S as the day progressed, should have led to a pleasant day’s gliding. However, on the 4th AT of the day, the only serviceable tug developed a fault that caused an immediate return to Sutton by tuggie Jamie Quartermaine and subsequent grounding, leaving the club with no means of launching as the wind was too light for winching. Glider pilots are, however, resourceful and, by dint of a successful search for a Falke pilot and judicious use of the winch when conditions were suitable, a group of 8 visiting Scouts and 2 Trial Lesson pupils were flown and there was also time for some club members to get into the air, Eric Preston having 2:21 in the Discus off an AT and John Marsh having 1:29 solo in one of the K21s off the winch. Total operations included 4 ATs, 4 Falke flights and 8 winch launches. Ron Beezer, in charge of operations for the day, summarised the day’s events in a email thank you to the Office which is reproduced below.
Sunday should have been an easy day but a failure of our only tug almost ruined it. Almost… but our members did not let failure happen.
Well done to the members who turned up early and prepared the equipment so that we were ready to fly on time.
Well done to everyone who calmly waited while the weather tried to fool us into flying too early.
Well done to our tug pilot who recognised a mechanical problem with our only tug and made an early decision to return to site.
Well done to our motor-glider instructor who drove in at late notice and flew our visitors when we could neither aerotow or winch.
Well done to our members who patiently waited for the wind to increase enough so that we could winch launch some of our visitors.
Well done to our ‘front office’ and ‘catering’ crew who looked after our visitors.
Well done to our visitors for being patient.
Well done to our own and visiting instructors for resisting the temptation to ‘stretch’ safety limits.
Well done to our members who stayed to put the equipment away even though they themselves did not fly.
We could have given up and gone home. We could so easily have been tempted into launching when we should not have launched but we overcame all of the frustrations, flew all of our visitors, and ended the day with the same number of aircraft we started with. Well done everyone.
Monday 17th. A day of bright intervals and an isolated shower should have allowed flying operations to be undertaken, but a steadily strengthening SSE’ly as a cold front made steady if slow progress south and east meant an average wind speed of up to 30 kts with gusts to 45 kts, ruling out any flying for the day.
Tuesday 18th. The passage of the previous evening’s cold front left the site in a fresh to strong W’ly so it was winching day. 10 winch launches were flown in both K21s, the DG1000 and Discus with 2 private owners also contributing, before some heavy showers with accompanying gusts of over 35 kts led to flying being terminated in the late afternoon.. The turbulent nature of the air led to the day’s Trial Lessons being cancelled, while 4 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, there being no problem in staying up apart from a little shower dodging, pilots reporting operating heights of 1500′-1700′ QFE on the hill. Ian Plant and Mark Robinson had 1:14 in K21 KLW, while Bill Payton had two separate flights that coincidently were of 1:25 each. On the second flight Bill did an O/R to Ingleby Bowl on the north edge of the NorthYork Moors, a flight that gave him both a minimum height of 0′ QFE at Carlton bank and a maximum height of 2500′ QFE courtesy of the lift from a nicely positioned line of showers. The good news on the tug front is that the Super Cub’s undercarriage has been repaired, collection from Bagby awaiting some calmer weather.