Thursday 24th to Tuesday 29th November
Posted: 30/11/2016 13:07
Thursday 24th. High pressure remained in charge of the weather, producing a light ENE'ly flow at site, but also generally cloudy skies, the base being high enough to allow operations off runway 02, 15 ATs being the result. With no lift in prospect, only the 2 K21s were flown, flight times reflecting the conditions, being at best in the low 20 minutes, this being achieved by Andy Parish and one of the day's 4 First Flight pupils, J Skelton, with 23 minutes in K21 JVZ and by George Goodenough who had the same time flying K21 KLW solo. Stewart Heaton, flying JVZ solo had 20 minutes. The exception to the predominance of these modest flight times was provided by Andy Parish and Mile High pupil Peter Kilner, who had tuggie Albert Newbery to thank for finding a gap in the cloud deck that allowed then to reach the 4,400' release height. They then found some weak wave to prolong the flight to 46 minutes, another small gap in the cloud enabling them to descend over the visitor centre at the top of Sutton Bank before landing back at site.
Friday 25th. With the centre of the anticyclone to the north of Sutton, a light E-SE flow covered the site, this being accompanied by an extensive cloud deck initially, this breaking up to provide a sunny afternoon. 9 ATs were flown behind Eurofox OF, but the lack of any usable lift meant it was a day of moderate flying times, with none over 30 minutes. The quiescent conditions were ideal for the 5 First Flight pupils of the day, 3 of whom, Michael Kevney, Tom Stephenson and George Parfitt topped the duration board with flight times of 27, 22 and 22 minutes respectively in the company of either Andy Parish and Mike Smith. Interestingly it was not a day without any soaring, as Andy Parish and Errol Bairstow managed a 17 minute flight off a 1200' AT during which they managed to climb 150' using thermalling techniques. The conditions also encouraged pilots to utilise the Falke which had 2 flights.
Saturday 26th. The centre of the anticylone was now close to site, the resulting very light winds and clear overnight skies leading to extensive fog formation in the Vales of York and Pickering. Fortunately, the very light winds from the NW allowed flying to commence off runway 02, the fields to the north of the site being clear. The beauty of the scene from aloft led to the receipt of a plethora of photos by your scribe, some of which are included below.
While the bottom right photo showing, among other things, the back of P1's head, probably struggles to be described as beautiful, it can be accurately described as depicting Soggy over Foggy.
The day produced 14 ATs, none of which exceeded 30 minutes, but all of which were appreciated by those flying them. Flight times were typically between 22 to 25 minutes, including the day's 4 First flight pupils, with Andy Parish and J van de Hoek having 25 minutes in K21 JVZ, Brian Wise and First Flight pupil Oliver Bagnal 24 minutes in K21 KLW. Polly Whitehead, flying JVZ solo, had 22 minutes, a time shared with Fred Brown and P Murry flying JVZ. The day also saw Derek Taylor test fly a Burn based Ventus following its repair in his Maintenance and Repair business located near Thirsk. The day's flying activities included 2 Falke sorties.
Sunday 27th. The wind had picked up a little to become light to moderate, again mainly from a NW'ly orientated segment, but the start of flying was delayed until around midday. Thereafter, 10 ATs were flown, although again the lack of any lift meant it was a day where no flight exceeded 30 minutes, the best being the 29 minutes achieved by P and A Goodchild in the DG500, this being courtesy of a tow to 4,000'. Steve Wilson and Martin White managed 20 minutes in the same glider off a lower tow, while Conrad Thwaites had 19 minutes in the Discus and a single flight in the Falke concluded the flying activities of the day.
Monday 28th. Subtle changes in the position of the anticylone led to the establishment of a light to moderate E'ly, some light showers being visible during the morning before the skies cleared to give as sunny afternoon. 18 ATs were flown, both K21s and the DG500 being utilised, the longest flights of the day, for 2 of the day's 3 First Flight pupils resulting from high tows. John Carter and First Flight pupil D Marsden had 42 minutes in K21 KLW off their 3,000' tow, with John and First Flight pupil T Allison having 32 minutes in the DG500. Paul Whitehead and Duncan Pask, respectively flying the DG500 and K21 JVZ solo, had 27 and 23 minutes, the latter time also being achieved by John Carter and Christina Griffiths in JVZ.
Tuesday 29th. The centre of the high pressure had now moved south of the site, allowing a light to moderate SSW'ly to develop, this slowly veering into the W as the day progressed. Conditions were quiescent, limiting flight times, but with good visibility the 3 First Flight pupils of the day enjoyed a gentle introduction to gliding, while the other 7 ATs enabled members to maintain currency or continue their training. Angus Bell's 36 minute, Mile High flight in K21 KLW with George Rowden was the only flight to break 30 minutes, although George and Mrs Krajewski, another of the day's First Flight pupils, had 28 minutes off a 3,000' tow, the result of finding some patches of zero shortly after release. Mike Greenacre, flying the Ka8, had 22 minutes, with Ian Johnston having 20 minutes in the same glider, this time being also achieved by Alan Beaumont's solo flight in KLW.