Wednesday 25th to Tuesday 31st May
Posted: 31/05/2016 16:18
Wednesday 25th. A moderate N'ly blew all day, bringing in extensive low cloud that produced rain by early afternoon, with 6 mm falling during the rest of the day. Consequently, there was no flying.
Thursday 26th. The departing fronts left a legacy of extensive low cloud and drizzly dampness, this amounting to 1.5 mm in total. A light wind, predominately from the east at first before veering into the SE, did little to improve the situation, so it was again a no flying day.
Friday 27th. Conditions slowly improved throughout the day, the wind remaining light and variable, so that by the evening the cloud base and general brightness had improved sufficiently to allow flying to take place. This amounted to 4 ATs in K21 KLW. 1 for a First Flight pupil, Joshua Fletcher, who had the longest flight of the day, 23 minutes off a 3,000' tow with Fred Brown, 1 for member C Booker who had 19 minutes with Brian Wise and 2 for Alan Beamish who had 2 x 8 minutes from 1,000' tows behind the Eurofox, as he concentrated on circuit, approach and landing skills with Derek Smith. The day also saw a flight by the Falke.
Saturday 28th. Another generally cloudy day, with light winds to start, slowly improved to the point where some soaring was possible, 7 of the day's 27 ATs leading to flight durations of > 30 minutes, with 2 pilots exceeding an hour. These were Rob Bailey, the only private owner to rig, who flew his ASG 29t to brighter skies over the eastern slopes of the Pennines, only to find blue conditions further west that led to a decision to return to Sutton after visiting Masham and Aysgarth and covering 100 km in total. Cloud base of the scuddy Cu reached 3,000' asl, providing weak thermals in the main. Charles Willoughby, the other pilot to exceed an hour, stayed local to site while flying K21 KLW solo for 1:05, no doubt benefiting from having 43 minutes previously with Paul Whitehead in the DG500, while Bob Beck and Geoff Turner had just under an hour in K21 JVZ and Tony Drury had 51 minutes in Astir DPO. The generally benign conditions were just the ticket for the 4 First Flight pupils of the day, with the wind become E'ly later in the afternoon.
Sunday 29th. With a developing high pressure to the north and a slow moving depression over the near Continent, the moderate N'ly wind brought in extensive cloud from the North Sea with a base of only 1,000' QFE, this only starting to break up in the early afternoon. In spite of this, 32 ATs were flown off runway 02, the pre midday launches being of the low tow height variety that were appreciated by the ab initio pilots brushing up their AT and circuit flying skills. The sunnier conditions in the afternoon did encourage 3 private owners to rig and launch, with Bob Beck in his Ventus getting closest to breaching the 1 hour mark, landing after 59 minutes and Rob Bailey in his ASG29 having 53 minutes. Bob and Rob were 2 of the 9 pilots to exceed 30 minutes, with some weak wave being used towards the end of the day to allow Andy Hatfield and one of the day's 6 First Flight pupils, Syd Bashford, to set the 3rd longest time of the day with 50 minutes in the DG500, while John Marsh and Tash Dodds earlier had 39 minutes in K21 KLW and Tony Drury had 35 minutes in Astir KRN. The day's flying also saw Paul and Polly Whitehead have 2 flights in the Falke.
Monday 30th. Monday opened much as Sunday, with grey skies in a moderate N'ly wind, but in this case the overcast was much lower, and although the cloud layer also eventually broke up by mid afternoon to provide some late sunshine under predominately blue skies, the result was a no flying day.
Tuesday 31st. The depression over the near Continent had decided to slowly progress westwards, the result being an overcast that was at hill top level, a moderate to fresh N'ly with gusts into the mid 30 kts, and rain by mid morning, this easing off by mid afternoon. While the conditions precluded any flying and led to a wind chill temperature of only 3.4C, they did not prevent Steve Thompson, aided by George Rowden, from putting a coat of paint on the external stucco panels around the ground floor of the clubhouse. The workers were ably supported with cups of tea/coffee, and eventually lunch, by Josephine, while some of the local Police Dog handlers used the airfield to train their charges in the pursuit and retention of suitably protected and simulated ne'er-do-wells.