Friday 22nd to Wednesday 27th July
Posted: 28/07/2016 19:39
Friday 22nd. Another generally cloudy day with a light to moderate S'ly blowing did not provide much in the way of lift, so that only 3 of the day's AT's exceeded 30 minutes in duration and none exceeded an hour. The day did not inspire many members to fly, with 50% of the flights for First Flight pupils, their 3,000' tows ensuring they all received flight times of at least 24 minutes, with Max Fryer having one of the day's 30+ minute flights with Mike Smith in the DG1000. and A Evans the second at 37 minutes with David Watson in K21 JVZ. Andy Parish and Alan Walker, however, topped the duration list with 43 minutes in JVZ, producing this off an 1800' tow to show that the day was not entirely without some useful rising air, although the only pilots to fly solo, Keith Davey in Astir KRN (twice) and Tor Taverner in the Discus, clearly demonstrated that such lift was hard to come by. It was left to the Falke, with its in built ability to climb, to log the 3 longest flights of the day.
Saturday 23rd. A light to moderate wind that started in the N but then backed into the W was the background to a moderately soarable day, with 14 of the day's flights exceeding 30 minutes and 6 exceeding an hour. The latter included 2 flights of over 2 hrs, one by Rob Bailey in his ASG29t with 2:07 and the other by Derek Taylor in his ASW22, but only Derek posted his flight on OLC, covering 159 km with TPs at Tontine and Pontefract in his flight of 2:44. Flights of 1-2 hours duration were achieved by Duncan Pask in his LS10 with 1:21. closely followed by Messrs Ball and May with 1:20 in their Duo Discus, while Les Rayment with 1:12 and Lindsay McLane with 1:06, both Ventus pilots, completed this particular list. Richard Walton topped the duration list for those flying club gliders with 50 minutes in Astir DPO, closely followed by Jon May and S Carroll with 48 minutes in the DG500 ( helped by a tow to 3,500'), Adrian Melia with 45 minutes in Astir KRN, Martin Joyce with 43 minutes in the DG303 and Steve Thompson with Geoff Turner who had 41 minutes in K21 JVZ.
Sunday 24th. An approaching front, with its lowering and thickening cloud, limited soaring opportunities, while its rain led to the cessation of flying in the early afternoon, restricting the launch total to 9 ATs. Syndicate partners Tony Drury and John Marsh each flew their DG303. with John getting bragging rights as he managed 26 minutes compared to Tony's 24. Brian Wise and Mile High pupil Brian Alsop in the DG500 recorded the longest flight of the day, 42 minutes as a result of their high tow, this being the only flight to exceed 30 minutes, the 3,000' tows of the other 3 First Flight pupils producing flight times of 22 to 27 minutes. After flying with husband Paul in K21 JVZ, Polly Whitehead took a solo flight in the same glider to record a similar flight time while the day's aviating was completed by 2 Falke flights.
Monday 25th. The passage of the front on Sunday left the site in a moderate to fresh WSW'ly flow that resulted in a day of mixed launch methods, 10 being via AT and 7 by winch, the hill soaring conditions under generally cloudy skies resulting in all the winch launched flights exceeding an hour, with an additional 4 from the ATs, a similar number of 30+ minute flights also resulting. The 2 private owners who flew both exceeded 3 hour flight times, with Martyn Johnson having 3:45 off a winch launch in his DG600 and Lindsay McLane having 3:37 in his Ventus off his AT. Ron Beezer in the Discus and Adrian Melia in Astir KRN had 2+ hours each, Adrian 2:14 via an AT and Ron 2:04 via the winch, while Phil Lazenby with 1:46 in the DG303 and Chris Knapp with 1:23 in Astir KRN both from the winch, and Ron Bottomley with 1:19 in the DG303 off an AT being the majority of the 11 flights to exceed an hour. 2 seater pilots appeared to prosper better off the winch, with Dick Cole/Naomi Kennard in the DG1000, Paul Whitehead/Geoff Turner in K21 JVZ and John Carter/Simon Altman in the DG1000 having 1:18, 1:10 and 1:01 respectively. Conversely, the only AT'd 2 seater flight to exceed an hour was flown by David Campbell and P Saville in JVZ and this the result of it being one of the day's two Mile High flights , there being 3 other First Flight pupils on the day, these generally having flight times around 45 minutes.
Tuesday 26th. A light to moderate SSW'ly gradually veered into the WSW over the day, the conditions providing some lift but never enough to generate long flights, with only 2 of the days 26 ATs leading to flights of over an hour. One of these was by Martin Newbery in Astir KRN with 1:17, while the other was by Jesper Mjels who had a similar flight time in his DG800 off a late launch, flying not coming to an end until 2021 hours. A significant proportion of the day's flying was done by a party of 10 RAF personnel from Linton on Ouse, who, flying mainly in either the DG500 or the DG1000, achieved flight times in the range of 31-46 minutes. The 2 seaters were also busy with 3 First Flight pupils and members, Peter Robinson of the latter group having 47 minutes in K21 JVZ with Paul Whitehead, while the day's flying was completed by 3 sorties in the Falke.
Wednesday 27th. An overnight front had cleared the site by the start of flying at around 1015 hrs, but the initially clear blue skies soon filled with low base cloud. The light to moderate NW'ly wind provided some sporting takeoffs from runway 24, but the soaring conditions started to improve around lunch time and from that point on the improvement continued, cloud base eventually rising to 4,500' asl and thermal strengths improving. 25 ATs were flown, with the majority of the available club fleet flown and 4 private owner launches. Darren Lodge, taking a late morning launch in his LS8-18, struggled to find any usable lift and landed after 24 minutes, but fared better on a later launch in the early afternoon by staying up for 2:19. George Rowden and Phil Lazenby both flew cross countries, George covering 202 km in his LS8-18 with TPs at Barnard Castle, Knaresborough and Catterick and Phil 174 km in the club DG303 with TPs at Beverley and Garforth. George found it hard going on the first into wind leg to Barnard Castle with broken short lived thermals and large blue holes and Phil experienced similar problems around his first TP at Beverley as he neared the east coast. Thereafter, the improving conditions made for trouble free flights and returns to Sutton for both pilots. The improvement in the soaring conditions can be judged by the fact that 7 of the 10 flights that exceeded an hour took off after 1400 hrs, with the last flight of the day, that by Andy Parish and S Atkinson, which launched at 1702 hrs, returning 1:14 later. Another pilot to exceed 2 hrs of flying time was Jesper Mjels with 2:10 in his DG800, while Polly and Paul Whitehead had 1:48 in the DG1000 and John Carter and Naomi Kennard had 1:26 in K21 JVZ. Flights in club single seaters saw Bill Payton have 1:21 in Astir KRN, Steve Ogden have !:14 in the same glider and Jon Hart have 2 flights in the Discus, the the first lasting 37 minutes and the second 1:04 in duration.
PS While soaring conditions have remained patchy up to the present in Yorkshire, John Ellis has been enjoying some good flying in Spain, the following photo being taken as he started his approach to landing after a flight of 1022 km, the original photo displaying the km flown under the deep blue area in the top right hand corner of the screen in his DG800.