Friday 16th to Saturday 17th December
Posted: 17/12/2016 17:57
Friday 16th. Another day of light winds from a SSE'ly direction as high pressure continued to build, holding at bay an Atlantic front over the west of the UK. Early fog in the Vales of York and Pickering slowly lifted into low stratus before dispersing altogether, but this was not the case at site as orographic stratus shrouded the hill all day preventing any flying.
Saturday 17th. The western lying cold front of Friday had departed to the south of the site overnight, leaving a cooler but clearer aim mass that bathed the site in bright sunshine although patches of fog/and mist could be seen in the Vales of York and Pickering. All 4 club 2 seaters were soon at the launch point on runway 20 as a light to moderate SSW'ly blew and Will Blackburn, a BI from Pocklington who has winter membership at Sutton, took the first of the 4 First Flight pupils booked on the day up in the DG1000. Will and Steve Ricks returned some 28 minutes later, this turning out to be the longest flight of the day. The next three flights all recorded flight times of 21 minutes, but had significantly different stories to tell. Fred Brown and George Claydon, flying in K21 JVZ had a uneventful training flight under quiescent conditions while George Rowden and First Flight pupil Harvey Godfrey, taking off into clear skies found stratus forming beneath them, this necessitating a right hand circuit rather than the normal left hand circuit onto runway 20. Mike Smith and Colin Troise, sharing a flight in the DG1000, took a tow to 4,000' QFE, but after some aerobatics, elected to do a full brake, sideslipping descent from 2,000' QFE as the stratus started to encroach onto the southern end of runway 20. A high speed, right hand circuit onto 20 had them onto the ground, with the final stage of the ground run being within the stratus that had now enveloped virtually all of the runway. With the hill remaining in cloud well after lunch, the decision was taken to cease flying for the day, the transfer of the gliders from the launch point to the hangars coinciding with clearing skies. The latter did allow the Falke, with Bob Beck and John Carter on board, to do a third sortie of the day, almost equalling the 4 ATs undertaken by the pure gliders.