Tuesday 19th to Wednesday 20th April.
Posted: 20/04/2016 21:30
Tuesday 19th. The intensifying high brought excellent thermic conditions to Sutton, with strong, 5/6 kt thermals, a 5,000' asl cloud base, a light N'ly, clear visibility and, later in the day, a sea breeze front that resulted in the wind becoming E'ly as the front crossed the site. 36 ATs were flown off runway 02, with 23 giving rise to flight times in excess of an hour and a further 9 in excess of 30 minutes, the launch log recording a Day Course member and one First Flight pupil. The 12 private owner launches soon had gliders departing to foreign places ie outside Yorkshire, with Paul Whitehead doing a 326 km O/R to Saltby and Lindsay McLean a 305 km O/R to Grantham, both flying Ventuses or should that be Venti. Lindsay even had time to photograph a relatives garden near his TP. Rob Bailey flew a 209 km triangle in his ASG29 with TPs at Beverley and Pontefract, experiencing the sea breeze front at Beverley that was to advance steadily westwards during the day. Nick Gaunt flew a 250 km task having to abandon his attempt to get to Scarborough due to a low cloud base associated with the sea breeze front and turning Snainton instead. H then visited the Humber Bridge and Carlton in his LS7, reporting a rough 13kt average thermal over Drax and a 6,000' asl cloud base over Carlton. Jon Hart was another to abandon a planned visit to Scarborough, this time at Malton, and also visit the Humber Bridge in his Vega, providing the following photograph, before returning to Sutton via Rufforth.
Andy Wright opened his 2016 cross country account with 215 km around Goole N, Castle Howard and Pontefract in his Nimbus 3, George Goodenough took his Standard Cirrus to Burn and back to record 109 km while Phil Lazenby flew the club Astir to Market Weighton and Helmsley, with an intermediate TP at Sutton, to cover 123.5 km. Flight times of the cross country pilots ranged from 2:30 to over 5 hours while Tom Dale and Steve Thompson took the club DG500 to Wombledon and back in their flight of 1:36. John Carter and Alan Beaumont enjoyed cruising around at 5,000' asl as they made use of the lift on the sea breeze front just to the east of the site later in the day, while Simon Altman in Astir DPO, Ron Beezer in the DG303 and Graham Taylor in the same glider all enjoyed flights of 1:26 to 1:46. During the day David Watson had his Full Category Instructor rating revalidated by Derek Smith while Polly Whitehead was similarly revalidated as a Basic Instructor by Derek so congratulations to them both.
Wednesday 20th. The high continued to intensify and with its centre over the UK, the day was sunny with a light to moderate S'ly wind that meant operations were off runway 20. The high also brought more hazy conditions with a strong inversion at 3,500' asl that meant it was an essentially blue day, although late in the afternoon,a few flattened Cumulus appeared. Thermic conditions were slow to develop with the result that it was not until the early afternoon that the first soaring flight from the 33 launches of the day took place, this being by Dick Cole and Polly Whitehead in the DG1000 who used a series of thermals triggered off the sunny slopes of the North Yorkshire Moors to record the longest flight of the day at 1:26. The best soaring conditions developed later in the afternoon with Steve Ogden and Steve Thompson having 1:03 in the DG500, John Carter and Steve Ogden's son Chris having 42 minutes in KLW, George Rowden taking First Flight pupil Pauline Riley for 38 minutes in the same glider, Mike Smith and his son Ben having 31 minutes in the DG1000 and Tom Dale having 32 minutes in the Discus. The majority of these flights made us of thermals originating from the gulley to the east of the site. During the earlier part of the day,a number of members made use of the availability of £10 tows to 1,000' QFE behind the Eurofox in order to practice their circuit and landing techniques, but Peter Wright flying with John Tayler in K21 JVZ managed to find a thermal shortly after release that saw him gain 900' before he embarked on his circuit and landing. Andy Parish, busy for most of the day doing instruction in the Falke, also took time to fly with David Watson on his acceptance flight as a Full Cat instructor for the YGC and the day also saw the arrival and later departure of a Piper Cherokee as Paul Whitehead took the Pawnee to Rufforth for the day to provide them with AT availability following the accident to the Super Cub on Monday.