Friday 29th January to Wednesday 3rd February
Posted: 09/02/2016 13:03
Friday 29th A fresh to strong W’ly was very much in evidence at the start of the day, with gusts into the upper 50 kts, as an intense Atlantic depression tracked to the north of Scotland. The day’s maximum temperature of 9.7C was recorded at 0340 hrs but steadily declined thereafter, as did the wind strength during the day, reaching moderate strength by the end of daylight hours, this improvement being too late to allow any flying to take place.
Saturday 30th. The W’ly wind was still blowing but had strengthened again to become fresh, with gusts into the mid 30 kts. The majority of a group of visiting Scouts were introduced to gliding on the simulator but 3 were flown, contributing to the 10 winch launches on the day. All the available 2 seaters were flown, as was one of the club single seaters, Rob Bailey taking the DG303 for 1:25 to record the longest flight of the day. 4 other flights exceeded 30 minutes, with Peter Goodchild first having 47 minutes in the DG5000 with Colin Troise and then, later, 31 minutes in K21 KLW with Anton Manhke. The other 2 flights to exceed 30 minutes were flown by Fred Brown with Scout J Morris, 42 minutes in the DG500 and by Bob Beck and Graham Taylor, who had 35 minutes in K21 JVZ.
Sunday 31st. The W’ly wind continued to blow but by the morning had declined to light to moderate so it was ATing rather than winching that was the launch method. Tony Drury took the first AT, flying K21 JVZ solo, but released at just under 1,000′ as a layer of low cloud started to develop below him, the low launch height resulting in Tony being back on the ground after 3 minutes. The next flight saw John Carter and Richard Watson have a similar experience in K21 KLW and land after 4 minutes, the increasing low cloud at around 500′ QFE resulting in flying being abandoned for the day. Virtual flying did, however, continue on the simulator, as a further group of 7 Scouts and 2 leaders took advantage of the facility to gain an experience of gliding.
Monday 1st February. Named Atlantic depression Henry started to make its presence felt, the moderate to fresh SW’ly veering into the W as the day progressed and increasing to become fresh to strong with gusts over 60 kts around the middle of the day with the result that flying was almost possible without the aid of a glider.
Tuesday 2nd. Storm Henry was still dominating the weather in the north of the UK and a fresh W’ly with gusts into the mid 40 kts at site meant it was again a non-flying day. Conditions started to abate during the afternoon, but conditions only became flyable as darkness fell.
Wednesday 3rd. The departing and filling Henry provided a moderate to fresh NW’ly flow at site with blue, sunny skies, this filling later with streeting Cu, as the following photo shows.
The about to depart DG303 was flown by Chris Thirkell, he being one of a number of pilots to find some strong lift at times with a peak of 8kts being reported, the thermic conditions helping Chris record a flight time of 37 minutes, one of 4 flights to exceed this particular target. Chris had earlier flown with David Campbell in the Falke as he took advantage of the engine to carry out a succession of field landing exercises. Pilots wanting to access the first thermals of 2016 had to brave choppy conditions on take off along runway 02, but for most glider pilots this was a one off, unlike the intrepid Tuggies on the day, Albert Newbery and Les Rayment who bravely soldiered on, although Les did want to surrender at one point, as the following photo shows.
The club also welcomed 2 visitors, Jon March from Eden Soaring, who in company with Andy Parish in the DG500, had the longest flight of the day at 54 minutes, while Adam Shakir from Gransden Lodge flew late on in the day when the thermal activity was well and truly absent. 3 Durham University students, Joe Foster, Kyle Tsai and Rob Norman were among those taking advantage of a flying day, while Steve Odgen, with 35 minutes in Astir DPO and Colin Troise, 38 minutes solo in the DG500 added their names to the > 30 minute flying time list. Colin, flying during the early part of the day reported maintaining height in a band of weak lift, half a mile long band and aligned across wind. On the last flight of the day, Andy Parish and Andy Evans found some wave and climbed 500′ before impending darkness caused a return to the site.