Thursday 4th to Wednesday 10th February
Posted: 23/02/2016 14:07
Thursday 4th. A moderate to fresh NW’ly meant that curl over from the westerly ridge rendered conditions for take offs from runway 02 too turbulent for safe operations so the only flying was done on the simulator where John Marsh and Andy Parish had training session and visitor Adam Shakia from Gransden Lodge had 2 flights, one with Andy Parish and the second with Albert Newbery. The wind slowly backed into the SW by the end of the day and decreased in speed, but the improvement came too late to allow any flying.
Friday 5th. A steadily increasing SSW’ly that became fresh with gusts to the mid 30 kts was accompanied by a high overcast with some evidence of wave. The wind conditions ruled out any real flying so the simulator again came to the rescue for those wanting to fly, this being David McKinney and Adam Shakia with Andy Parish again filling the P1 seat.
Saturday 6th. A murky, cloudy and moderate SSE’ly airstream brought periods of rain for most of the daylight hours so there was no flying.
Sunday 7th. A bright start to the day saw the first of the day’s ATs take off around 1000 hrs but increasing and lowering cloud led to the abandonment of ATing around 1115 hrs after a further 3 had been flown. Two of these resulted in flights of over 30 minutes, father and son Albert and Martin Newbery having 38 minutes in K21 KLW and syndicate partners John Marsh and Tony Drury having 34 minutes in K21 JVZ. The last AT of the day saw the recently ARC’d DG1000 take to the skies on its test flight with John Carter and Mark Newburn at the controls. The steadily increasing SW’ly led to a decision to revert to winching, John Carter and Tony Drury taking to the sky in K21 1330 hrs. Very strong lift led to 600, being gained in a single beat of the main bowl but the turbulent conditions led to a decision to land, this proving to be somewhat problematical as insufficient height was lost on the first attempt, in spite of full brake being employed. A second circuit, starting from a lower starting height was successful, the whole flight lasting 6 minutes. Meanwhile, in the calmer conditions of the simulator, Jamie Quartermaine took a group of Scouts for their gliding experience flights.
Monday 8th. The worst of storm Imogen passed to the south of the site, the pressure dropping to 969 mbs, but a moderate to fresh SW’ly gusting to the mid 30’s still affected the site as did a number of showers , the combination of wind speed and showers preventing any flying.
Tuesday 9th. A light to moderate W’ly meant it was hill soaring day at Sutton, 8 winch launches being flown, 2 resulting in flights of over an hour and a further 3 in excess of 30 minutes. David McKinney flew K21 JVZ solo for just under 2 h0urs, while Steve Thompson, back on site after a recent major operation had 1:30 with Andy Parish in the DG500. Those having in excess of 30 minutes included Albert Newbery and Tom Dale in the DG500 and the sole First Flight pupil of the day who had 45 minutes in K21 JVZ with Albert Newbery.
Wednesday 10th. A light to moderate WNW’ly under sunny skies started to produce Cu by late morning, although there was also earlier evidence of wave to the NW of the site. 8 AT’s were flown off runway 24, seven of these behind the Pawnee before an exhaust pipe failure led to the Super Cub taking over towing duties. This transition only lasted a single launch as a loss of power on the tow led to the glider being waved off and landing after only 3 minutes. With the conditions deemed unsuitable for the Eurofox, gliding came to a halt but not before 3 flights had exceeded an hour and a further 2 in excess of 30 minutes. John Carter and David Watson led the way with 1:36 off the first flight of the day in K21 JVZ. They were followed byl Tony Drury who used hill lift off the bowl to the north of the main bowl, plus thermals and bits of wave to stay aloft for 1:27 while Bill Payton and Rob Bailey shared 1:15 in the DG1000 and contacted the wave providing the following photo of an attractive sky.
The 2 First Flight pupils of the day were introduced to gliding by Graham Evison while, with the cessation of flying and following a considered and wide ranging risk assessment, a pair of Astir wings were lifted and stored in the roof of the hangar.