Friday 20th to Tuesday 24th May.
Posted: 24/05/2016 21:56
Friday 20th. Friday evening's flying was all by AT as the wind, although remaining W'ly, had dropped to become light to moderate. 8 ATs were flown with Chris HaresNape, Alan Beamish and Mark Newburn providing most of the P2 pilots and Steve Thompson, Paul Whitehead and Dick Cole all spending time as P1, with the majority of flights being off tows to 1,000' QFE. Meanwhile, Mike Brown was busy flying 8 Scouts on the simulator.
Saturday 21st. Saturday was a day of showers at times, with some potentially flyable periods in the moderate mainly SW'ly wind. However, after yoyo-ing gliders and tugs in and out of the hangars in response to the changing weather, enthusiasm, like the rain fell and in the end no flying was undertaken. There was, however, a couple of positive notes as first Astir KRN returned to site after its repair and second the club welcomed old friends from the Stratford GC for a week's gliding.
Sunday 22nd. After 9 mm of rain overnight, the light to moderate W'ly veered into the N as high pressure started to become established to the NW of the UK. However, the air was still unstable enough to produce showers that had a dampening effect on those pilots wishing to fly cross countries. 42 ATs were flown off runway 02, including 8 for a party of visiting Scouts and 4 for First Flight pupils as well as 14 for private owners. 10 of the day's flights exceeded an hour, with Rob Bailey in his ASG29 and Steve Thompson in his Discus, both mindful of impending showers, electing to keep their cross country hands in by flying the 100 km Sut/Rufforth/Pocklington/Sut triangle. Both managed to complete the task in rain as a shower arrived at site. Paul Whitehead flew a 180 km task around local TPs including Pickering, Pocklington and Rufforth in his Ventus in a flight of 3:30, while Jesper Mjels had 4:43 in his DG400 and visiting pilot K Lorenz landed out in his LS8. Other pilots to exceed an hour included Les Rayment with 1:53 in his Ventus, John Marsh with 1:16 in his DG303 and Nick Gaunt with 1:01 in his LS7. John Carter, enjoying some booming conditions to the east of the site, took Astir KRN for a 58 minute test flight while Andy Hatfield took First Flight pupil J Stocks, for the longest club 2 seater flight of the day at 30 minutes. The return of Astir KRN to the available list was complemented by the return of the Ka8, pending transfer of the relevant paper work from NY Sailplanes.
Monday 22nd. A light to moderate NNE'ly blew all day and with Cu filled skies, 35 ATs were flown, a short and low one for visitor P Challens in his Astir as the connection between the tug and glider was lost during the early part of the climb out with the result that a land out close to the site resulted. The actual soaring conditions proved to be less favourable than they appeared, with a low cloud base, down to 2,500' asl in places, this being the reason for a number of abandoned tasks. These included John Ellis who, after abandoning his declared task, flew a 158 km undeclared task around Pontefract, Pocklington, Fridaythorpe, and Malton in his DG600 while Phil Lazenby flew an undeclared 131 km task visiting Market Weighton and Tockwith in the club DG303 after abandoning his declared task, only to find conditions improving on the last 20 km of his return to Sutton. Lindsay McLane visited the Humber Bridge and Barnard Castle, covering 270 kms in his flight of 4:30 in his Ventus, while Sharon Kerby, visiting from Stratford, had 2:10 in her ASW 28. Frank Wilson, flying the club DG303 had 1:49, one of the 9 pilots to exceed an hour in the air, with an additional 7 exceeding 30 minutes, including Steve Thompson and D Denbigh who had the longest club 2 seater flight of the day, 49 minutes in K21 JVZ. The return of Astir KRN and the Ka8 to the available list did not result in a full complement of available club gliders as the Discus suffered damage on landing and replaced them on the repair list.
Tuesday 23rd. The light to moderate, cool, N'ly wind steadily increased to become moderate by the end of the flying day, a day that was very variable in terms of thermal strength, cloud base and extent of cloud cover. Lindsay McLane made the most of the day declaring an O/R to Monmouth in mid Wales via TPs at Pontefract and Alton Towers. Reachng Monmouth just before 1400 hrs, Lindsay started on the into wind return home and got as far as Alton Towers before having to resort to the engine of his Ventus after completing 342 km of the task. A few more engine burns later Lindsay landed at site around 1815 hrs, having been aloft for 7:28, the latter part of his return being monitored via the Flarm based web site display, Spot the Glider. While Lindsay ventured the farthest, the variable conditions meant that most other cross country pilots either abandoned their tasks, resorted to their engines or landed out. Rob Bailey, intending to cross the Pennines in his ASG29 was forestalled by a low cloud base and returned to site. John Ellis in his DG800 and George Rowden in his LS8-18 both had to resort to their engines, John after visiting Saltby and George approaching the Humber Bridge after a good run to that point via Pontefract. John was also refused transit through the Doncaster zone due to ILS training. Both found variable bases, with 3,000' asl at site on starting their tasks, this increasing to around 4,500' asl in South Yorkshire but decreasing to around 2,500' asl towards the east coast. Returning to site was a struggle due to the increasing head wind and poor soaring conditions under an overcast sky. Nick Gaunt, flying his LS7 around a similar route to George also found tricky conditions approaching the Humber Bridge and turning for home landed out at Pocklingon. Taking an AT back to Sutton, Nick released with plenty of height in hand only to run into heavy sink that had him struggling for the next 45 minutes to get sufficient height for his eventual landing at Sutton. Back at site, Chris Brown, a day course member, and 2 First Flight pupils were introduced to gliding, while John Carter and Chris Haresnape had 45 minutes in K21 KLW and Mike Greenacre had 38 minutes in the DG303, 2 of the 5 flights to exceed 30 minutes flying time on the day.