Saturday 17th to Tuesday 20th September
Posted: 20/09/2016 20:39
Saturday 17th. A fresh N'ly soon moderated, becoming light by the end of the flying day, those at site experiencing some pleasant sunshine and much activity as 37 ATs were flown off runway 02. The 2 seaters were busy with a party of 5 Scouts and 4 First Flight pupils as well as members, with 5 private owners launching, the latter being encouraged by early encounters with wave that, although of moderate strength and vertical extent, provided the means by which 6 of the day's flights exceeded an hour. Paul Whitehead and W Tsai set the ball rolling off the first flight of the day in K21 KLW, having an hour in which they climbed to 4,000' asl. John Ellis in his DG800 and Derek Taylor in his ASW22 had flights of around 3 hours as they explored the wave to the NE of the site, with John getting to 6,500' asl and Derek to 6,000' asl. John remarked that the lenticulars associated with the wave were of short duration, their disappearance leading to turbulent conditions before the air smoothed out as another lenticular formed in the same place. Rob Bailey was another pilot to breach the 1 hour with 1:02 in his ASG29t, while Bryn Evans flying the club Astir, KRN, just missed with a flight time of 52 minutes. Fred Brown, flying the Scouts in the morning, was also able to contact the wave on each of his flights, while Andy Parish and Mark Brewer's flight of 37 minutes in K21 JVZ was one of the 7 on the day to exceed 30 minutes. While all the above was happening, Andy Hatfield successfully converted to the Pawnee, so well done Andy.
Sunday 18th. Sunday started cool but sunny, as a light S'ly wind slowly veered into the W and increased to light to moderate. 5 private owners launched, contributing to the 45 ATs on the day as a further group of 4 Scouts and 9 First Flight pupils chose a good day to experience the joy of gliding, aided by excellent visibility. Cu started to form late morning and although looking tempting, only gave weak climb rates and a relatively low cloud base of around 3,000' asl. These conditions led to most pilots staying local, with those who didn't, soon deciding that it was not a cross country day. Nevertheless, 8 flights exceeded 30 minutes with 5 of these exceeding an hour. Darren Lodge in his LS8-18, Martyn Johnson in his DG600, John Ellis in his DG800 and Nick Gaunt in his LS7 all had around 2:10 hours of soaring, while Tony Drury in his DG303 and Ken Arkley in his LS8t-18 each had around 1:40. Chris Ogden had 37 solo minutes in K21 JVZ, while Andy Hatfield took Mile High pupil G Chappel for a 40 minute flight in K21 KLW.
Monday 19th. A weak and slow moving cold front meant it was an overcast day at Sutton, the base of the overcast being low enough to prevent the gliders from operating but high enough to allow the Falke to fly. This it did with 3 flights off runway 02 as the light to moderate NNW'ly progressively veered to become NNE'ly by the end of the flying day. 2 of the Falke sorties were for members of the holiday course which started today, they also starting their gliding week with sessions on the simulator.
Tuesday 20th. The weak front which had prevented any glider flying on Monday was still close by to the east of the site, the light to moderate N'ly wind slowly veering into the NE. The edge of the cloud bank associated with the front initially moved to the east of the site promising a uninterrupted day's flying under sunny skies, but this was a temporary event as the cloud soon returned and extended far to the west, with showers visible to the east and south. Flying off runway 02 continued, however, until late afternoon, when the cloud base had reduced to a level that restricted flight times. By this time 20 ATs had been flown, with course members Anthony Kirkby, Martin Clowes and Andrew Bedford able to undertake some real gliding under the supervision of course instructors Andy Parish and John Carter. Early on in the day some weak wave was to be found just to the west of Gormire, this enabling George Rowden with Ian Wilson, the first of the 4 First Flight pupils of the day, to record 31 minutes of flying time, the only flight to exceed 30 minutes, although Ian's father, Bob Wilson, another First Flight pupil. had the next best duration, 25 minutes in the same glider with the same instructor. The difference in view when looking east or west from the launch point is illustrated by the following 2 photos taken mid afternoon as the rain threatened from the east.