Tuesday 16th to Thursday 18th August.
Posted: 19/08/2016 11:22
Tuesday 16th. Another day of a cloudy start with improving conditions by midday, as the high pressure remained in place over the North Sea, maintaining a light to moderate ESE'ly flow at site. Flying got under way at 1040 hrs with the 4 holiday course members and 6 First Flight pupils combining to keep the 2 seaters busy all day, the last flight landing at 1944 hrs. Overall the day saw 37 ATs flown off runway 20. The better soaring conditions in the afternoon led to 17 flights of > 30 minutes, with 7 exceeding an hour, most of the latter being by the 8 private owners who launched. With the skies turning increasingly blue, only George Rowden in his LS8-18 embarked on a cross country task, 158 km with TPs at Masham and Pontefract. Conditions went blue with climbs to 3-3,500' asl after Masham but everything went OK until, after turning Pontefract, and at low altitude, a search for lift over the Trading Estate at Boston Spa proved unsuccessful. Recourse to the engine led to re-connection with the lift some 8 km later and a return to Sutton, the total flight time being 2:46. Others to cross the 2 hour mark while flying locally included Nigel Burke, with 2:39 in his DG600, Derek Smith with 2:31 in his Ventus and Albert and Martin Newbery with 2:19 in their DG1000. Resh Khodabocus with 1:01 in the club Discus and Tony Kendall/Paul Bulmer with 1:06 in the DG500 made sure the club gliders were mentioned, while Steve Ogden's 58 minutes in Astir DPO comes into the category of a valiant effort at publicity. The day's flying activities also included 3 Falke sorties.
Wednesday 17th. Subtle changes in the air mass, even though the synoptic situation remained relatively static, meant that Wednesday started off similarly to Tuesday with cloudy skies and light to moderate ESE'ly wind but the cloud proved more reluctant to disperse. The result was that only 1 private owner launched, providing the only flight to exceed an hour and the AT total declined to 23, of which 11 exceeded 30 minutes. Rob Bailey's 2:51 in his ASG29t showed what was possible, making the most of the brief soaring period during the afternoon, with Martin Newbery's 59 minutes in Astir DPO resulting from the same period. The best of the day's 2 seater flights were clustered around the 46/47 minute mark, this being achieved by Tony Kendall/Paul Bulmer in K21 JVZ, with the latter repeating the excercise with Andy Parish later in the day. Also in this time bracket were Albert Newbery/Keith Walker in the DG1000 and Tony Kendall/Phil Turner in the same glider. The day also saw 3 First Flight pupils and a Day course member flown.
Thursday 18th. The variability of soaring conditions under apparently similar synoptic situations, illustrated by the soaring conditions on the previous Tuesday and Wednesday, was further illustrated by the conditions on Thursday. Again a cloudy start, but this time the cloud base was much lower, delaying the start of flying until just before midday, the wind again ESE'ly but more moderate than light. The disappearance of the low cloud did not signal the return to blue conditions of previous days, but instead the skies were graced by the presence of chubby Cumulus, particularly to the north, even though the gliding forecasts were of better conditions to the south. The latter forecast was acted upon by 4 of the 6 private owners who launched, with Lindsay McLane in his Ventus declaring an O/R to Alton Towers, George Rowden an O/R to Chesterfield and Rob Bailey a task with TP's at Leyburn, Pontefract and Helmsley. Only Rob completed his task of 171.9 km in his ASG29t, finding conditions very variable to to the south of York due to large areas on poor soaring conditions, the result of a thick band of Cirrus. Lindsay struggled on his journey south, finally abandoning his task at Sheffield N and returned via Pontefract and Burn, an attempt to add Pocklington to his TP list also being abandoned due to the weak conditions in the area, but nevertheless completing 185 km in his Ventus. George Rowden in his LS8-18, went into survival mode south of Harrogate and then returned to the much better conditions to the north of York with 3-5 kt thermals and a 4,500' asl cloud base, visiting Tontine, Guisborough SW and the Tontine again before returning to Sutton, a overall distance of 131 km. David Bradley, flying his ASW28, visited Ripon but, like Lindsay, was thwarted in his attempt to get to Pocklington by the poor conditions in that area, but nevertheless covered around 115 km. Conditions at Sutton remained good and contributed to 12 of the 22 ATs flown exceeding 30 minutes, with 7 greater than an hour. Apart from the cross country pilots mentioned above who were aloft for 2-3.5 hours, Duncan Pask flew locally for just over 2 hours in his LS10, Naomi Kennard had exactly an hour solo in K21 JVZ, while Tony Kendall and Phil Turner had 52 minutes off the last flight of the day, landing at 1758 hrs. The day also saw a further 3 First Flight pupils introduced to gliding and soaring.