Sunday 22nd to Thursday 26th January 2017
Posted: 26/01/2017 14:40
Sunday 22nd. The continuation of high pressure domination of the UK weather, or at least that part affecting Sutton Bank, meant another day of light to moderate winds, this time from the SE, and poor horizontal visibility. In the hope that conditions would improve, the two seaters were DI'ed and taken to the launch point on runway 20 and there they remained until conditions worsened post lunch, with drizzly rain setting in . The gliders were therefore returned to the hangar but the day was not totally non-flying, as members of the Northumbria GC at Currock Hill flew in in their Grob to take delivery of Eurofox MOYR. MOYR then departed for her new home after providing 2 years of tows from Sutton. The occasion was captured by John Carter who supplied the following photos.
Monday 23rd. Although the anticyclone was still in charge and the wind had become even light and variable, the day started sunny, although medium level cloud spread in during the afternoon. The conditions meant it was a flying day, although the lack of any lift meant flight times were relatively low, no one exceeding 30 minutes, even from 3,000' tows. The longest flight of the 17 ATs of the day was by John Carter, who took First Flight pupil Liz Pritchard for 23 minutes in K21 KLW. Andy Beaumont and Polly Whitehead vied for the next longest flight, both clocking 22 minutes while flying either K21 KLW or JVZ solo, while John Carter and Phil Turner had 21 minutes in KLW. Ken Arkley and Mark Newburn each flew the DG303 for 20 minutes, with all the above flights, except Mark's having 3,000' tows.
Tuesday 24th. Tuesday started with blue skies, the wind remaining SE'ly and being light to moderate. Flying got under way just before 1100 hrs with Albert Newbery and Robert Corner taking K21 KLW for a flight of 15 minutes. By the time the second flight of the day took off, Albert flying this time with a First Flight pupil, cloud had spread in, its base restricting the climb to 1900' QFE and the flight time to 13 minutes. Thereafter, the cloud base lowered even more so there were no more pure glider flights but the Falke had 3 sorties.
Wednesday 25th. Fog in the Vales of York and Pickering was extensive enough to obscure all launch failure landing fields close to the site, but the fog eventually cleared as the SE'ly gradually strengthened to become moderate, allowing flying to commence around 1400 hrs. The by now sunny conditions allowed 8 ATs to be flown off runway 20, with the first two flights of the day equalling or exceeding 30 minutes as some weak lift on the southern ridge was exploited. Thus John Carter and T Kirby had 37 minutes in K21 KLW off the first launch and Graham Evison, taking the day's only First Flight pupil, in the DG500 followed with 30 minutes. Thereafter, flight times declined, although John Carter and Mike Smith had 23 minutes in KLW while Steve Ogden and Stuart Heaton posted the only solo flights of the day in the DG500, each recording around 15 minutes. Steve Thompson took advantage of the benign flying conditions to fly twice with Derek Smith as he embarked on the newly introduced, instructor training initiative.
Thursday 26th. A very cold and moderate SSE'ly blew all day, the visibility being so poor as to preclude all flying. However, that was probably a blessing, as the outside temperature slowly declined throughout the day, being -2.3C at 1000 hrs and -3.0C at 1700 hrs, the wind chill falling to -9.0C at 1930 hrs. The first ice day of the winter did, however, generate some beautiful rime covered trees, bushes and coarse grasses to gladden the eye, while at the same time chill the nose and ear. The day was not, however, entirely wasted, as in the warmth of the briefing room Paul Whitehead led a small group of members through the mysteries of aeronautical maps, while Albert Newbery provided some sunny simulator flying to one of the group.