Sunday 6th to Thursday 10th November
Posted: 10/11/2016 20:28
Sunday 6th. The site remained in a cold, moderate to fresh N'ly with frequent showers, as a depression over the North Sea slipped further south, the wind gusting into the high 20 kts. The conditions meant the gliders remained in the hangars but the simulator was busy as 8 Scorpion Scouts were introduced to virtual gliding by Mike Brown.
Monday 7th. Although the wind remained in the N and had declined to become light to moderate, the showery nature of the air-stream precluded any flying, although the simulator again provided flying experience time for some.
Tuesday 8th. The wind speed had fallen to become a light NNE'ly and, with an absence of showers, 14 ATs were flown, commencing at 1040 hrs with the final flight landing at just after 1600 hrs. The lack of any lift meant that those taking the highest ATs had the longest flights, so it was the 4 First Flight pupils of the day who topped the duration table, especially Mr Wallace, who, as a Mile High student, had 37 minutes in the DG500 with instructor Steve Thompson. Steve also featured in the next longest flight, again in the same glider, but this time with First Flight pupil Margaret Simpson, their flight landing after 22 minutes, an identical time being achieved by Ron Bottomley with a third First Flight pupil, Jonathon Hewitson, again in the DG500. The only solo flight of the day saw Andy Evans take K21 JVZ for a 14 minute flight while the Falke was busy with 5 flights.
Wednesday 9th. Those arriving at site ready for the morning briefing met an approach road and site covered with snow, this continuing to fall until the early afternoon, while slowly turning to sleet and then rain . Thereafter the skies slowly cleared but too late to allow any flying to take place, although the clearing skies did allow the temperature to fall close to freezing overnight.
Thursday 10th. A forecast of moderate W-NW winds tempted a number of people to come to a still snow covered site, including Geoff Hughes, a winter member from Bowland Forest, but although the forecast wind direction was correct, the wind speed was only light to start, slowly increasing to light to moderate later in the day. Orographic cloud forming over the northern end of runway 02 delayed the start of flying until around 1130 hrs, although a lack of enthusiasm for up round and down flying contributed, as did the refusal of the Pawnee to start. The first flight of the day, therefore, saw George Rowden take First Flight pupil Andrew Wailbore up in K21 JVZ behind the Super Cub, with George and Andrew landing after 30 minutes after having found some zero and reduced sink in wave over Sutton Village and even bits an pieces of lift lower down in the main bowl. The encouraging start led to 12 ATs being flown, with Steve Thompson, having rigged his Discus on the basis of the forecast wind strengths, having a flight of just over 3 hours, operating in a height band of 400 - 1000' QFE, and flying the main ridge down to Paradise Farm while rejecting the option of exploring further north. No one else exceeded an hour, with most pilots being content with 30+ minutes, there being 7 such flights. Mark Newburn first flew the DG500 for 19 minutes before transferring to Astir KRN and having 46 minutes, while Steve Ogden had 37 minutes in the same glider. Later in the afternoon Stewart Heaton took the DG500 for 34 minutes, the following photos showing Stewart at the launch point behind Rob Bailey in the Discus, together with a photo of Stewart hill soaring the main bowl shortly after launch.
The melting snow had resulted in a soft and muddy layer over a frozen sub layer, so the end of the flying day meant a busy time washing the gliders and tug before safely returning them to their hangars, this being accomplished as a glorious sunset appeared in the west as shown below.