Tuesday 8th. As noted in my previous blog, Tuesday’s flying was delayed by very poor horizontal visibility but flying started just before lunch, with ATs off runway 24 into a freshening SW’ly that finally veered into the W. Bob Beck/Sam St Pierre took a high tow for Sam’s annual spin refresher only to find wave to 7500′ asl, so enjoyed a flight of spinning down and waving up. Mike Wood and Chris Thirkell meanwhile had 1:37 hill soaring in the T21, 2 of the 3 ATs of the day. The freshening wind meant a change from ATing to the winch and a further 11 launches were undertaken with 5 of these exceeding an hour. Hill soaring was the order of the day, but by mid afternoon, rough thermals allowed the operating height to increase to around 2000′ QFE, at which point transition to the wave was possible. 3 pilots made good climbs, Phil Lazenby getting to 9500′ in the Discus, George Rowden getting to 8000′ in the DG303 and Mike Wood, flying the T21 solo to 7000′, all asl. Both Phil and George broke off their climbs while still in lift due to either a lack of oxygen equipment or pressing engagements and from altitude, the wave pattern could be seen in the low murk below the inversion. Later flights failed to contact the wave, although Bob Beck/Duncan Pask had a flight of 1:37 in the K21.
Wednesday 9th. A strong and gusty W’ly with showers kept the gliders in the hangars.
Thursday 10th. An even wilder day with the W’ly wind gusting to around 50 kts, resulting in one of the trees bordering the visitors car park being blown over.
Friday 11th. The wind had decreased to a moderate to fresh WSW but with heavy showers about the prospects for the day didn’t look too promising. However, the showers consistently bypassed the site and 12 winch launches were flown off runway 24 with the DG1000, DG303, Discus and Astir in action. 3 of the day’s flights exceeded an hour, the majority of pilots keeping their costs down by taking advantage of the first 30 minutes free winter concession in single seaters. Andy Parish and Howard Marshall put up the best 2 seater flight of the day, 39 minutes in the DG1000 and there were 2 Trial Lessons. Most pilots found the hill lift was the only anti gravity force to be had, but Jesper Mjels flying the DG303 took a cloud climb to contact wave, topping out his climb at 9500′ asl on the way to Barnard Castle. His return found the site under 8/8s so a descent through cloud was necessary. The increase in cloudiness was due to an approaching front that saw flying terminated by rain at around 1530 hrs.
Saturday 12th. A grey day with a light to moderate SE’ly saw flying start just after 1000 hrs off runway 20 but be immediately suspended due to orographic with a base at 200′ QFE in places. The orographic came and went during the morning preventing any flying but at least allowing the members to observe a mountain bike event which was using the club site and facilities as the start/finish point. With 120 competitors the site was certainly busy.
By early afternoon the orographic had disappeared and thereafter, 18 ATswere flown, 12 with Scouts from South Yorkshire and 1 for a Trial Lesson pupil. Flight times were typically in the 15-20 minute range, it being surprisingly turbulent early on before thickening cloud calmed things down and rain arrived around 1630 hrs. Jon May took his Trial Lesson pupil Kim Fulham for the longest 2 seater flight of the day, 23 minutes in the DG1000, while Peter Goodchild managed an identical time in the Discus.
The moutain bikers, Scouts and members kept Brian and his team busy in the kitchen, affable helper Sarah Marsh showing her manual dexterity in the cups department. Quite a handful. (Not Sarah the cups, 14 to be precise).
Health and Safety warning, DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME.