Friday 5th to Monday 8th August
Posted: 08/08/2016 18:23
Friday 5th. Low cloud that shrouded the site and bits and pieces of rain and drizzle opened the day, but by midday the sky was looking much more attractive, so much so that flying commenced around then with 25 ATs subsequently flown, the light to moderate breeze veering from the S into the W as the conditions improved. The afternoon provided some good soaring conditions with the cloud base eventually rising to over 5,000', but it was not all plain sailing for those pilots who flew cross country. Both Phil Lazenby in the DG303 and Steve Thompson in his Discus encountered difficult conditions when nearing one of their TPs, leading to TPitis in the case of Phil, with slow recoveries from low points. However, they did both complete their tasks, with Phil flying 168 km around Masham and Goole and Steve 164 km around Market Weighton, Helmsley and Tockwith. Lindsay McLane flew the longest cross country, 280 km with TPs at Burn, Barnard Castle and Derwent Reservoir, while George Rowden had a relatively straight forward flight around Beverley and Pontefract in his LS8-18 to clock up 178 km. Phil, Steve, Lindsay and George were 4 of the 9 private owner launches of the day, with the visitors from Lasham making up most of the remainder, they also enjoying the conditions which resulted in 11 flights of over an hour and an additional 9 over 30 minutes. Club flyers also made the most of a good half day gliding, with Frank Wilson having 1:29 in Astir DPO, the Keileys having 1:38 in the DG1000 and John Carter and Monique Van Beek having 1:04 in K21 JVZ, while 3 First Flight pupils had a good introduction to soaring.
Saturday 6th. The initially light to moderate W'ly breeze veered into the S over the course of the day and with a good looking sky soon developing, 19 private owner launches were flown, contributing to the 46 ATs flown on the day. In spite of the good looking sky, those undertaking cross countries reported variable conditions with weak lift in the Tees vallley, unreliable clouds with good lift hard to find and when it was, it proved to be rough and difficult to centre. A number of pilots abandoned their tasks due to the above conditions. Les Rayment covered 203 km but turned back to Sutton at Gainsborough short of his goal ofGrantham, John Ellis covered 191 km as he completed 92.5% of his task that had TPs at Market Weighton, and Staindrop, while Darren Lodge regretted his abandonment after covering 182 km or 84.6% of his task around Goole, Northallerton and Rufforth. It was not all abandonment however, John Shaw in his LS10 stayed relatively local as he visited Tontine, Northallerton, Helmsley and Thirsk to record 92 km, Kelly Teagle completed her 168 km task around Thirsk and Pontefract in her Cirrus, while husband Chris in his Nimbus 2 flew 210 km with TPs at Goole NE, Northallerton and Rufforth. Steve Thompson in his Discus flew an 304 km O/R to Belvoir, reporting much better conditions south of the Humber, as did Paul Whitehead who visited Saltby and Catterick to record 384 km in his Ventus. The longest flight of the day, however, saw Derek Taylor circumnavigate Bakewell, Horncastle, Tontine and Burn, recording 511 OLC kms in the process, at least that is my estimation of the TPs from Derek's OLC trace. The day's good soaring conditions led to 37 of the day's 46 launched exceeding 30 minutes with 24 exceeding an hour, and while Messrs Payton and Heaton logged the longest 2 seater flight with 4:08 in their DG1000, those flying club gliders also took advantage with Andy Hatfield flying the DG303 for 2:12, Richard Walton Astir KRN for 1:20, Polly Whitehead and Jim McLean the DG1000 for 1:20 and Bob Beck and A Constantin K21 JVZ for 1:17. With 6 First Flight pupils also flown, it was a busy but enjoyable day at Sutton.
Sunday 7th. An unusually deep depression for summer, slowly tracking E to the N of Scotland, produced a fresh to strong W'ly flow at site, the wind gusting into the mid 30 kts. Due to the strength of the wind and the accompanying gusts there was no flying, but out of the wind it was a pleasant day.
Monday 8th. With the depression now to the NE of Scotland, the wind had decreased slightly but was now a moderate to fresh WNW'ly with gusts into the low 30kts according to the data from RAF Topcliffe, the on-site data indicating a light to moderate flow from anywhere from S to N, a consequence of curl over over the site. With the start of Task Week, John Carter took a exploratory flight in K21 JVZ, but on landing reported 40-45 kt winds at 1,500' QFE, very turbulent conditions aloft and on the approach to runway 24, where at ground level there was a tail wind at times. A hill and wave soaring task was set for the 17 Task Week entrants by Director George Rowden in the hope that the conditions would moderate sufficiently to allow flying to take place, but by mid afternoon, with conditions still not suitable, the day was scrubbed. There was a least a little flying when 4 young swallows decided to depart their nest for a nearby, less crowded location, as the following photos show.