Tuesday 13th to Saturday 17th April.

Tuesday 13th.  A weak cold front that went S during the day was characterised by a lack of  rain but  predominately cloudy skies with a low base that precluded most flying.  The Falke ventured forth  for one flight and the simulator also had a run out.

Wednesday 14th.  A fresh to strong NE’ly that slowly moderated during the  day brought some wave that eventually collapsed and was replaced by  thermal activity.  14 ATs were flown off runway 02 in the club K21s and DG1000 with 5 Trial Lesson pupils being flown.  3 of the flights exceeded an hour with Roger Burghall/Ken Duxbury having 1:08 and Andy Parish/Hugh O’Neill 1:04.  Ken Duxbury then had a further 20 minutes solo in the K21.  As well as the above there were 2 Falke flights.

Thursday 15th.  The cold wind from the Northerly quarter continued to decrease, the wind chill being 2 C, under generally cloudy skies.  8 ATs were flown off runway 02 using one of the clubs K21s and the DG1000 but lift was elusive.  1 Trial Lesson pupil was flown, Mike Wood using his skill to give him 38 minutes in the air, helped by the designers of the DG1000.  Andy Parish/Peter Wright has 35 minutes in the K21.  The highlight of the day was the first solo of Hugh O’Neill who joined the club  some 5 weeks and 25 flights ago as a trainee power pilot refugee.  Congratulations to him.

Friday 16th.  Thursday dawned cloudy with a light NE’ly blowing, but the cloud soon broke up to leave a good thermic day, albeit with very narrow cored thermals.  Cloudbase rose to around 4000′ QNH before disappearing entirely by mid afternoon, by which time the wind had switched into the SW.  17 ATs were flown, the majority off 02, with the remainder off 24, the club K21s, Discus and Astir flying as well as 6 private owners.  Lindsay McLane and Bill Payton in their respective Ventus’ or should that be Venti, initially headed NW, but with conditions deteriorating turned around at  Catterick and headed for the sunny skies to the south east, eventually turning Kirton in Lindsey before returning to Sutton, a flight of around 250 km.  Bill reported a 7.5 kt, but smelly, thermal over Scunthorpe.  Andy Wright headed south in his Nimbus 3, but abandoned his declared task, turning Tuxford Junction and Fridaythorpe for a flight of 244 km, while George Rowden flew a 155 km O/R to the Humber Bridge in his LS8.  Back at Sutton, Dick Cole had 1:50 in the Discus and Steve Ball/Chris Stothard, launching late, had 1:58  in the Duo Discus.  In all a good soaring day with 8 of the flights exceeding an hour and 1 Trial Lesson pupil flown.

Saturday 17th.  The wind was now from the W as  the centre of the High Pressure slipped S of Sutton.   Initially light, the wind steadily freshened as the day progressed with initial ATs off runway 24 with landings on 20 being replaced mid afternoon by winch launches and landings on 24.  50 launches resulted, 37 Ats and 13 by winch, with all  the club 2 seaters and most of the available single seaters utilised, the club gliders being supplemented by a goodly number of private owners.  Visibility was moderate , as was thermal activity, but this was more than augmented by blue wave which was used by a number of cross country pilots.  Derek Taylor visited the Lake District in his ASW 22, covering 244 kms,  Peter Clay turned Ripon, Gainsborough and Barnard Castle using a mixture of wave and thermal in his Ventus, while John Ellis abandoned his declared task south of Doncaster as thermal conditions deteriorated but still managed to cover 355 km, contacting wave near Linton on Ouse on his return N and then using the wave to turn  Haydon Bridge and Harrogate N before returning to Sutton.  Rory O’Conor, in the longest flight of the day, 7:16, did a thermal based tour of most of the Class D and ATZs in the North of England on his flight of 392 km around Camphill and Husband Bosworth, having to resort to his DG800 engine over Linton on  Ouse to return to Sutton.  Congratulations are due to Bob Calvert, a very enthusiastic Winter Member, who flew his Astir to Burn and back for his Silver Distance, again using a mixture of thermal and wave and reaching some 10,000′ QNH in the process.  This completes Bob’s Silver C.  Those pilots local soaring around Sutton also enjoyed themselves, with Peter Goodchild having 2:07 in the club Astir, John Marsh giving Wayne Richardson a first taste of wave flying via a 1:58 flight in the DG500, Les Rayment and Colin Troise spending 1:18  happily criticising each other’s flying in the club DG1000, Ron Beezer leaving behind the cares of instructing to have 2:02 in the DG500 and club Chairman Graham Evison getting to 6000′ QNH in his glider so thoughtfully rigged for him by his syndicate partner.  Among this flurry of soaring activity, with 9 of the day’s flights exceeding 3 hours, 6 Trial Lesson pupils were amazed and delighted  by the experience of soaring flight and Ross Cleave converted to the Astir.  Well done Ross.

PS  The recent activity to encourage pilots to record their flights on the National Ladder certainly had an effect in March, with the total height gained being a whopping 140,000′, firmly establishing Sutton Bank  in 2nd position for this parameter.  Let’s keep up the good work for both height gains and cross country kms.

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