Friday 4th to Monday 7th March
Posted: 07/03/2016 21:06
Friday 4th. A moderate NE'ly flow brought low cloud, snow, sleet and progressively rain, the whole amounting to over 25 mm of precipitation which led to a very wet airfield, as the following photo shows.
Saturday 5th. A light to moderate N'ly meant it was a cold day at Sutton, some further rain overnight and the occasional shower during the day delaying the drying out of the airfield and thus preventing any flying. As a result, a group of visiting Scouts from Beverley had to be content with a virtual introduction to gliding on the simulator.
Sunday 6th. The airfield had dried out sufficiently to allow flying to take place, although there were sufficient wet/soft patches around to ensure that some take offs suffered from a succession of acceleration/deceleration zones, some landings had truncated landing rolls and the gliders acquired a non-white coating to their undersides. 19 ATs were flown, 9 for the visiting Scouts and 2 for First Flight pupils. The conditions became somewhat thermic during the afternoon, the presence of lift enabling Mark Newburn to have a flight of an hour in Astir DPO, the only pilot to exceed this time, while 3 other flights exceeded 30 minutes. The majority of these flights took advantage of a convergence zone that crossed the site during the afternoon, providing good lift on it front edge and snow from the rear edge. Paul Whitehead and Andy Marsh had 35 minutes in K21 JVZ and Rob Bailey had 38 minutes in the Discus in which he flew a O/R to Thirsk, the posting of this on the BGA ladder leading to a lively discussion via the comments section. The > 30 minute flying list was completed by John Carter in the DG1000 as he took Richard Mills on his Mile High flight.
Monday 6th. The sun shone from a cloudless sky onto a frozen airfield as a light to moderate N'ly blew. The cloudless nature of the sky slowly started to disappear with signs of wave activity to the north of the site and this was soon being exploited by a number of pilots, in particular Mike Smith and Mile High pupil Tracy Connel in K21 KLW and John Carter and David McKinney in the DG1000. Mike and Tracy's high tow made contacting the wave relatively easy, their high point of 7,200' asl meaning that Tracy became a Mile and a Half High pupil rather than a Mile High one. John and David's original intention was to undertake some stalling and spinning exercises and these were readily carried out within their flight of 1:21 in which they climbed to 7,300' asl and provided the following photos overhead Helmsley, which illustrate the day's excellent visibility.
Other pilots to contact the wave included Phil Lazenby and Steve Thompson, flying a mutual in K21 JVZ, who reached around 4,500' asl in their flight of 1:01, and Rob Bailey, who, flying the Discus also reached a similar altitude to Phil and Steve and took the opportunity to fly around the Sutton Bank turn, start and control points to cover 27 km. Later in the day the wave died and pilots had to be content with thermal activity, with climbs restricted by the 3,300' asl cloud base. The thermal conditions did, however, enable Colin Troise, flying K21 KLW solo, to join the >1 hour list with a flight of 1:19, rather than the list of the 5 other pilots who exceeded 30 minutes. On a day when the club welcomed commercial pilot and new member Baz Baastian, who had two flights with Paul Whitehead, the day also saw Eurofox Oscar Foxtrot undertake the start of its towing duties at Sutton as shown in the following photos, the first of which shows OF ready and eager to go, while the second shows a take off with K21 KLW on tow.