Thursday 19th to Saturday 21st February

Thursday. Rain early delayed flying but eventually 5 aerotows with the club K21’s enabled flying to restart at Sutton after a long break due to the snow. A very light W’ly was not enough for the hill to work and all flights were in the teens with CFI Andy Parish/A McGregor managing the best flight of the day at 19 minutes.
Friday. The day started promisingly with again a light W’ly but clouded over later with a few spots of rain. However, 12 ATs were flown all in club aircraft, including the K21’s, Ka8 and DG500, the latter being rigged and test flown after its recent CoA. Most flights had durations in the teens but Nick Gaunt, flying the Ka8 demonstrated its light wind soaring capabilities by staying up 44 minutes on the hill, while Mike Wood, another of our more mature pilots, gave his trial lesson pupil 28 minutes in the DG500.
Saturday. A light and variable wind greeted all those present on site for the regular morning briefing but with the promise of a strengthening W’ly and wave. Most people, dressed suitably for February at Sutton Bank, found the morning sun and light winds a surprisingly warm combination but early flights hinted at the presence of wave which developed as the day progressed. In all 31 ATs were flown before the increasing wind speed brought the hill into play and caused a change to winching by mid afternoon from which a further 9 launches were carried out. Late in the day, wave interference caused the wind speed to drop right off and a final aerotow was carried out giving a total number of launches for the day of 41. Of the 32 AT’s, most were of 25-35 minute duration with 12 over an hour, while the 9 winch launches generated 6 flights over an hour. Visitor Russel Cheetham used the wave to explore the area between Barnard Castle and Hexham in a flight of 4.5 hours, one of 12 private owners to take to the skies. A significant number of pilots contacted the wave, with a number reporting peak climb rates of >10 kts and John Carter getting to 9000′ asl while flying the DG1000 solo after scraping on the hill. Brian Wise/Andy Wilson in the T21 also reported high rates of climb in their flight to 8,300 asl. The most eventful flight of the day was by Andy Parish/Ed Harrison in the club K21 who were winch launched into non exisitent hill lift as the wave shifted. Gradually sinking below hill top height they made for a field to the west of Hood Hill only to encounter the wave at minus 200′ QFE and eventually get to 6000′ asl. All this and a fantastic sunset made all that waiting for a good flying day worthwhile.

Sunset Feb 21st

Sunset Feb 21st

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