Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th August.
Posted: 15/08/2016 11:36
Thursday 11th. Early rain and low cloud delayed the start of flying until around 1300 hrs, but even then the cloud base never rose above 800' QFE. The light to moderate W'ly wind meant the ridge was working and 9 winch launches were flown, but due to the low cloud base the day was scrubbed as far as Task Week competitors were concerned. The day saw all 9 launches lead to flights of > 30 minutes with 5 over an hour, these including Jesper Mjels who, using the engine of his DG400 explored the wave over the Pennines in his flight time of 2:43. Chris Gill in his DG202 17m and Steve Thompson in his Discus, the other two private owners to fly, did some exploring at lower levels nearer to home, with Steve getting to the Tontine ridge, some 20 km from site. The low level exploration really got down to business here, with Steve recovering from a low of 500' QFE and making it back to Sutton after indulging in some high speed passes along the ridge remote from the main bowl. Steve was aloft for 1:47, while Chris had 2:21. Colin Troise, flying the DG1000 solo, had 1:19, while the longest of the 2 seater flights saw George Goodenough become acquainted with the local ridges under the guidance of Albert Newbery, this taking just over an hour.
Friday 12th. The overnight passage of a southward travelling cold front left the site in a moderate to fresh WSW'ly that gusted up to 28 kts at times and meant another day of winching, but also a superb wave day. 27 winch launches were flown, 20 of these for private owners, as the Task Week competitors had an and/or choice of hill soaring or wave tasks. Those launching early contacted the wave straight of the hill, but initially found the system to be restrictive in height to around 7,000' asl. The early wave gaps then closed in, although sunny slots on the ground could be seen to the W. The extensive cloud cover occasionally broke up to provide some gaps, but these were short lived and resulted in a number of climbs being terminated. Around early afternoon, significant slots opened up within reach of site enabling the wave to be readily contacted from a winch launch and, thereafter, the conditions were superb, with a stable, well marked wave system, high rates of climb and excellent visibility. George Rowden, having been restricted to hill soaring by the overcast, contacted the wave in a clear slot just east of Thirsk in his LS8-18 and climbed from 2,000' asl to 10,000' asl in 11 minutes before proceeding with his wave based task. Fred Brown in his Ventus Bt and John Ellis in his DG808C both flew just over 400 km wave tasks, John achieving a task speed of 108 kph and Fred 120.4 kph, while Chris Gill in his DG202 17m flew 292 km at 151 kph and George Rowden, 210 km at 125 kph. Later in the afternoon, with the wave still working well as high cloud from an advancing cold front started to cover the sky, Phil Lazenby in the club DG303 and Jon Hart in the club Discus added more kms and height gains to the day's total, with Jon providing this photo as he turned Aysgarth, the sun glinting of the river Ure.
The 8 Task Week competitors who entered claims on the day, flew just under 2,000 km and had a combined maximum height total of almost 78,000', but this was only part of the story. Lindsay McLane, flying his Ventus, reached the Newcastle area, and with the assistance of the Newcastle ATS, reached flight level 195 before returning to site, where CFI Andy Parish had a personal total of 38,400' as he flew with Paul Bulmer, Adrian Bennett, Paul Frost and Mr McGregor in either the DG1000 or K21 JVZ. Jesper Mjels, flying his DG400 had 4 flights, claiming an accumulated total height of 56,000', his last flight also including a 180 km O/R to Warcop on the other side of the Pennines. The day saw Fred Brown win the day within the Task Week competition, with John Ellis second and Chris Gill 3rd, with John increasing his overall lead over Chris after 3 days of competition.
Saturday 13th. The last day of Task Week saw the wind continue to blow from the W, its strength declining a little to become moderate. The prospect of a continuation of Friday's wave conditions led to David Latimer taking an AT at 0615 hrs in his Ventus Bt with the objective of undertaking a long O/R wave flight into Scotland. However, although David did get to 10,000' over the Pennines, the wave conditions were not conducive to a long, fast flight, so a return to Sutton saw David land after a flight time of 6:18 in time for lunch. With hill lift a little soft at times, as were the early convective conditions, the day saw a combination of winch and AT launches off runway 24, 23 of the former and 20 of the latter, each method resulting in 13 flights in excess of an hour with a further 4 in excess of 4 minutes. AT was the favoured launch method for private owners with 13 choosing this method compared to the 10 who favoured the winch. Maximum flight times were similar from both groups with Andy Wright in his Nimbus 3 and Darren Lodge in his LS8-18 both exceeding 4 hours from their winch launches while George Goodenough in his Standard Cirrus and Jon May and Phil Lazenby in Jon's Duo Discus XLT had similar flight times from their ATs. Dick Cole had an hour of 2 seater flying from each of the launch alternatives, a DG1000 winch launch with Resh Khodabocus and an AT in the same glider with T Dodds, while the Father and Son combination of Albert and Martin Newbery had 3:28 in their DG1000. The club single seaters were also well used with Chris Knapp having 1:47 in the DG303, Tom Dale 1:32 in Astir DPO and Simon Altman 1:33 in the same glider. With a combination of hill lift, weak wave and thermal activity available, 5 Task Week competitors launched to try to improve their overall scores, the day's task allowing each mode of lift to be used and scored. The improving thermal activity proved to be the primary source of lift, although Les Rayment, flying his Ventus Bt, almost earned some wave climb points by reaching around 4,800' asl near Northallerton, just short of the minimum 5,000' target. Chris Gill flew his DG202 17m back to its home base of Rufforth and recorded the fastest flight of the day, 71.1 kph, while Steve Thompson in his Discus flew the longest distance, 150.3 km, this being based on an O/R to Guisborough SW. The day was however won by George Rowden in his LS8-18 who accumulated the most hill soaring points and bonuses. John Ellis in his DG808 came 3rd on the day but retained his position at the top of the leader board. At the end of competition dinner, provided by Liz with Sarah Marsh and Mike Brown serving, the day winners from Friday and Saturday, Fred Brown and George Rowden were presented with their prizes with John Ellis receiving the overall winner award having amassed 1597.1 points, with Chris Gill second with 1443.7 points and George Rowden 3rd with 1411.8 points. A photo of, from left to right, Fred, John and George with YGC President Nick Gaunt is shown below, Nick having earlier in the day shown his gliding mettle by doing an O/R to Tontine in around 15 minutes in his LS7 using hill lift.
Overall, Task Week was deemed a success by contestants with 4 out of the 6 days providing tasks and around 5,500 of cross countries kms flown in hill, thermal and wave lift.