Wednesday 17th to Friday 26th February.
Posted: 27/02/2016 10:29
Wednesday 17th. An Atlantic depression and its slow moving fronts brought a day of steady rain at Sutton, amounting to 20 mm. Consequently, there was no flying.
Thursday 18th. The fronts had cleared overnight, leaving the site in a light to moderate SE’ly that soon veered into the WSW and provided conditions that gave some weak thermal and hill soaring, including the first cross country of the year, as thermic conditions improved during the afternoon. 20 ATs were flown in the 7 hour flying day, the last flight of the day by John Carter and Naomi Kennard being squeezed in before sunset as the following photo shows.
The day’s flying included flights for 3 First Flight pupils, and while only 1 flight exceeded an hour, 11 others exceeded 30 minutes as all the available 2 seaters and the Discus were flown. Rob Bailey took the Discus for the year’s first cross country, turning Northallerton and Thirsk to record 70 km, with cloud base being around 3,500′ asl, but reported some unreliability in the availability of lift that made for a cautious approach. The following photo by Rob indicates the extent of the thermal conditions.
Rob’s 2:25 was the longest of the day but a number of other pilots threatened 1 hour duration with flights of around 50 minutes. These were Ken Arkley in the Discus, Andy Parish and Anton Mahnke in the DG1000 and Stuart Heaton and Chris Haresnape also in the DG1000. Complementing the above activity were 3 Falke flights.
Friday 19th. A bright morning led to flying getting started around 1020 hrs at site but the brightness was short lived as the skies soon clouded over with the wind becoming a moderate to fresh S’ly that gusted int the mid to high 20 kts leading to flying at site being concluded at 1215 hrs. During this period, 4 ATs were flown in either K21 JVZ or the Discus, 2 of the 2 seater flights being for First Flight pupils, one of whom, Cayln Davies, was treated to the longest flight of the day, 33 minutes in the company of Andy Parish. Steve Ogden took the Discus for a 26 minute flight while later, Graham Turner had a session on the simulator with Andy Parish. A number of other YGC pilots had decamped to Pocklington to brush up their winching skills and, after a slow start , had a good day with instructors John Carter and Paul Whitehead providing plenty of launch failure practice, often followed by long walks back to the launch point. Particular thanks are due to the members at Pocklington who supported the day’s activities. Two photos from the day’s activities are shown below, the first with John Carter and Polly Whitehead the focus of attention and the second a typical launch point scene.
Saturday 20th. The wind had become a moderate to fresh W’ly that brought with it low cloud and bits and pieces of rain, the conditions not being conducive to flying. Accordingly, the group of Scouts from the Trinity School Troop in Durham were introduced to gliding and soaring on the simulator.
Sunday 21st. Similar conditions to Saturday prevailed on Sunday, with, if anythng, the W’ly wind stronger with gusts into the mid 30 kts, these peaking mid afternoon to reach 40 kts.Accordingly, the gliders remained in the hangars and the members in the clubhouse.
Monday 22nd. The fresh W’ly had decreased to moderate by the start of Monday, so it was out with the winch with flying getting under way around 1030. 11 winch launches were flown off runway 24 until the middle of the afternoon by which time the wind had decreased to light to moderate and backed into the SW, so ATing became the preferred launch method. That is preferred by some as John Carter and Chris Knapp’s two attempts to get airborne were both aborted. On the 3rd AT Steve Ogden got into the air in Astir DPO but was soon back on the ground after 20 minutes as the lift died. Those flying in the eminently soarable conditions earlier in the day were much more successful, with 3 flights exceeding an hour and a further 8 exceeding 30 minutes. Les Rayment and Colin Troise shared a flight of 1:45 in the DG1000, while David McKinney had 1:26 in Astir DPO. Bill Payton, flying the Discus had 3 flights of 1:06, 58 ad 49 minutes as members enjoyed exploring the ridge and taking advantage of some passing thermals. Dick Cole, flying with Steve Thompson climbed to 3,200′ asl in their flight of 48 minutes in K21 JVZ.
Tuesday 23rd. A depression to the east and high pressure to the west produced a flow of Arctic air that meant a cold airfield but good soaring conditions, with cloud base getting to around 4,500′ asl. The start of flying was delayed until just after midday but the afternoon generated 7 ATs and 4 flights of over an hour, 2 of which were cross countries. Rob Bailey visited the Tontine, Carlton and Thirsk in his flight of 2:01, but his attempt to get to Guisborough was thwarted by sea air. Nevertheless, he managed to cover 71 km. The other cross country of the day was flown as a mutal by Steve Ball and Andy Parish as they the DG1000 around the local 100 km Sut/Pocklington/Rufforth/Sutton triangle with a total flight time of 2 hrs. Other pilots to take advantage of the conditions included Tor Taverner with 1:13 in the Discus and Mike Smith with exactly an hour in the DG303. The day’s flying was completed by a single Falke flight.
Wednesday 24th. The continuation of Tuesday’s synoptic situation meant the light flow of Arctic air from the N remained in place thus generating some good thermal conditions, although these were tempered by over convection and some fleeting snow and hail showers. 15 ATs were flown off runway 02, but only Rob Bailey in the Discus managed to exceed an hours flight time, using a series of heather fires to get to Pickering before the increasing over convection led to a careful return to Sutton via Thirsk, the flight distance being 91 km and the flight time 1:17. A photo of a number of the heather fires around Scudale are shown below, courtesy of Rob.
3 First Flight pupils were flown on the day, with Mr I Cook having 33 minutes in K21 JVZ with Andy Parish. Mark Newburn had 43 minutes solo in K21 KLW while David Campbell and Polly Whitehead shared a flight of 32 minutes also in KLW.
Thursday 25th. Another day of cold, dry Arctic air, this time in a light NW’ly flow, saw the cloud base rise to 5,500′ asl with some strong thermals, but the development of over convection was more pronounced compared to previous days. However, weak lift could still be found under the overcast skies until late in the day. 14 ATs were flown, predominately in the club’s single seaters with only K21 JVZ of the 2 seater fleet flown. The conditions ever tempted George Goodenough to rig and fly his glider. The day produced 4 flights of over an hour and an additional 4 over 30 minutes, with Ken Arkley having 1:35 in the DG303, John Carter having just over an hour in the Discus and Graham Taylor having 1:17 in the Discus off the last flight of the day. Graham’s flight was particularly meritorious as it was his second flight in the Discus having converted to the glider earlier in the day, so congratulations to him. Two seater pilots did not feature on the > 1 hour list, but Steve Thompson and Howard Marshall, both flying with Andy Parish in the DG1000 and K21 JVZ respectively, had 46 and 44 minutes each. The day’s flying activity also included 3 Falke flights.
Friday 26th. Hopes that the good soaring conditions would extend into Friday were not realised as the day saw a complete overcast at just over 4,000′ asl, the lack of sunshine making it feel cold in the light SE’ly flow. The weather contributed to a lack of members at site, no doubt satiated by the good soaring opportunities earlier in the week, so the flight log was limited to 5 ATs off runway 20 and a single Falke flight that saw Tom Dale complete a hat trick of flights, one dual with Andy Parish in K21 JVZ, one solo in JVZ and the Falke flight with Andy. Somewhat surprisingly, George Rowden, flying JVZ solo, found some weak lift over the closed end of the gully to the east of the airfield and was able to extend his flight time to 27 minutes, while Andy Parish, flying local farmer’s wife Tessa Missey, the only First Flight pupil of the day, found some weak thermal lift over the visitor centre and remained aloft for 31 minutes. Flying ceased around 1400 hours, due to a lack of demand, with the hangar packing activity accompanied by the formation of a few, isolated cumulus clouds to the east of the site under the overcast demonstrating the still unstable nature of the air mass.