Sunday 17th. The initially light to moderate SE’ly increased to moderate over the day, the benign weather allowing flying to commence around 1045 hrs and continue until around 1515 hrs. During this period, 9 ATs were flown off runway 20, including 4 for 3 First Flight pupils, the reason for the discrepancy between numbers of First Flight pupils and flights providing the interest story of the day. This involved Peter Goodchild and First Flight pupil Fiona Maddon who. reaching their release point after a tow to 3,000′ QFE, found that neither of them could release the rope, the cable release being solid. A radio call to Tuggie Dick Cole resulted in a descent to 1000′ QFE above the airfield, at which point Dick employed the tug guillotine, allowing Peter to make a uneventful landing back on runway 20 with the rope still attached to the glider.. Examination of the Oftur hook on the K21 showed that it had been immobilised by ice, this presumably being formed from snow picked up during the launch ground run as no difficulty had been found in attaching the hook prior to the launch. Fiona subsequently had a further flight with Albert Newbery due to the relatively short duration of her first flight with Peter. Lift was at a premium on the day, so most pilots went for a high tows in order to extend their flight times, but John Marsh’s 33 minutes solo in K21 JVZ indicates that there was some rising air around, while Andy Hatfield’s 27 minutes, flying K21 KLW solo, also off a 3,000′ tow, was the nearest anyone else got to John’s time. Sunday was also the first ice day of the winter, the air temperature never getting above zero, the lateness/briefness of this event further confirming the mildness of the season.
Monday 18th. A weak occlusion lying across Southern Scotland and the north of England gave wintry precipitation over Scotland but resulted in a dull, overcast and cold day at Sutton, as a light to moderate SE’ly blew, the temperature struggling to get above freezing and the cloud shrouding the hill, thus preventing any flying.
Tuesday 19th. The weakening occlusion had drifted a little further south, so the site remained under its influence, with cloud again shrouding the hill and the non-flying conditions made even more negative by occasional light rain in the light to moderate NNW’ly wind.
Wednesday 20th. The occlusion had disappeared to the southt and dissipated, leaving the site under initially blue skie in a light, initially NW flow that backed virtually around the compass during the day to eventually become NE’ly. Flying commenced around midday and continued until around 1615, by which time 9 ATs had been flown in either one of the 2 club K21s. Again, a lack of any lift meant it was a high tow day if pilots wanted to extend flight times and Polly Whitehead, Duncan Pask and Steve Ogden duly obliged, all taking solo tows to 3,000′ QFE, although no one managed to exceed 30 minutes flight time. Polly came closest with 25 minutes although Duncan and Steve were close behind with 24 minutes each. Andy Parish, first with Chris Haresnape and then with Diane Thomas posted the longest dual flights of the day at 17 minutes off lower tows, while Andy also had the shortest flight of the day with Peter Robinson, their hangar flight in K21 KLW lasting 7 minutes as Peter opted for a 1000′ tow to practice his circuit and landing skills.
Thursday 21st. The high pressure responsible for the quiet and cold weather of the last few days declined, allowing Atlantic fronts to make progress eastwards. A moderate SE’ly flow and broken cloud greeted the day but any thoughts of flying were quickly dispelled , the cloud base rapidly falling until it reached hill top height by early afternoon, rain starting to fall around 1600 hrs. While no flying was undertaken, the early conditions were taken advantage of as the Discus was trailered down to North Yorkshire Sailplanes for its ARC.