Saturday 10th to Monday 12th September
Posted: 13/09/2016 16:02
Saturday 10th. The cold front that had curtailed Friday's flying has crossed the site overnight leaving a light N'ly that didn't produce much in the way of soaring opportunities, with none of the 24 ATs of the day leading to flights in excess of an hour and only 4 over 30 minutes. Steve Ball and Jon May were the only private owners to launch and had a flight of 31 minutes for their efforts, while Colin Troise, flying the DG500 solo, had 56 minutes courtesy of some 2-3 kt thermals with assistance from a local bonfire. Although the day's soaring was not a notable feature of the day, 2 first solos were as Gerry Murphy and Andy Oakley both took this significant step in their gliding careers, so congratulations to them both. Gerry went on to have a second solo flight in K21 JVZ that lasted 35 minutes. Saturday was also the day K21 KLW returned to site after some R&R at North Yorkshire Sailplanes. Apart from Gerry and Andy, the day was dominated by P1/P2 flying, with 5 of the day's flights for First Flight pupils, one of whom. Olga, seemed to have had a very enjoyable experience with instructor John Marsh as the following photos, one pre flight and the other post flight, both supplied by Jon Hart, testify.
Suggestions for the hilarity may be sent under plain cover to email@example.com or perhaps John can enlighten us all.
Sunday 11th. Sunday dawned bright and clear with Cumulus appearing around late morning, and the airfield soon became busy as the first of the 36 ATs of the day took to the skies. Soaring opportunities were much better than Saturday, with 22 of the day's flight exceeding 30 minutes with 10 exceeding an hour. Initially the thermals were a little weak and the cloud base a little low, but these aspects improved as the day progressed with some weak wave also making its presence felt. Rob Bailey, flying his ASG29t was the only private owner of the 4 who launched to put his flight on the National Ladder, this being a 257 km flight with TPs at Burn, Alfreton and Burn. Post Burn Rob reported good conditions with stronger lift and higher bases, but on returning to Sutton had to top up with some local hill soaring in order to get to his final TP at Sutton North. Rob's 3:55 was the longest flight of the day, with Don Austin next with 2:34 in his Kestrel and then Duncan Pask with 1:51 in his LS10. Colin Troise and Gerry Murphy had 1:30 in the DG500, with Gerry later having 1:03 solo in K21 JVZ, while Mark Newburn had 1:20 solo in the DG500 and Jim McLean 1:09 in the Discus. John Carter and P2's Mr Cousins and Mark Newburn, topped the list for 2 seater duration with both flights achieving 1:13.
Monday 12th. Monday saw the start of a holiday course, Instructors John Carter and Ron Beezer welcoming Andy Copland, Christina Griffith, Paul Frost and Nigel Must to site, along with Day Course pupil, Guy Schofield and visitor Adrian Lake from Halton who had brought his LS6 with him. Despite most members leaving home under blue sky conditions, the light to moderate SSE'ly had covered the site in low cloud, this only breaking up sufficiently by late morning to allow flying to commence just before midday. The first few flights taking off from runway 20 behind the Eurofox found wave lift along the line of the southern ridge, with peak climb rates of 4 kts although 1-2 were more usual. The mobile nature of the wave, particularly the transient wave slots, meant that climbs were either abandoned or restricted, with the majority of those in the wave getting to between 4,000 and 4,500' asl. The exception was Martyn Johnson, the only private owner to fly, who ignored the closing wave slots and eventually climbed to around 6,000' asl while staying in the local area. Martyn was the only pilot to exceed an hour with a flight time of 2:13. Shortly after Martyn's departure, the local wave slots all closed up and with a re-established low cloud base, flying came to a halt. Clearing skies later in the afternoon, allowed flying to recommence and continue until 1810 hrs, the day's AT total being 19. Two of the course members were among those achieving flight times in excess of 30 minutes, with Nigel Must having 59 minutes in the DG1000 with John Carter and John also having 40 minutes in K21 JVZ with Christina Griffiths. Day Course member Guy Schofiled had 37 minutes in the DG1000 with George Rowden and Mike Smith made sure the 4 First Flight pupils of the day had an enjoyable introduction to gliding.