Sunday 8th to Tuesday 10th January 2017
Posted: 11/01/2017 16:46
Sunday 8th. After the restricted flying on Saturday due to the encroachment of orographic stratus, hopes were high that Sunday would provide conditions for a whole flying day, as the weather situation looked to be benign. Indeed it was in the surrounding countryside, but the initially light S'ly that slowly veered and increased to become a light to moderate W'ly was consistently accompanied by more of the orographic stratus that had plagued flying operations on Saturday. The resulting cloud was thin but extensive enough to prevent any flying even though the gliders were DI'ed and ready to go as the following photos from John Carter illustrate.
Monday 9th. A weak front brought patchy and intermittent rain to the site, the skies starting to clear around lunch time as the moderate SSW'ly wind veered into the W and became light to moderate. John Carter took the first launch of the day, via the winch, solo in K21 KLW, but his return to terra firma after 6 minutes confirmed the hill was not working, so ATing became the launch method. Only 2 ATs were subsequently flown, the first by David Watson and Paul Bulmer and the second by John Carter and Nusrat Khan, both in KLW, with David and Paul having 15 minutes and John and Nurat having 22 minutes.
Tuesday 10th. A light to moderate W'ly blew all day providing opportunities for hill and wave soaring which those on site enthusiastically grasped. The wind speed was ruled to be insufficient for winching, with the Eurofox providing ATs off runway 24, the climb out over the edge of the hill providing some significant handling challenges for tug and glider pilots at times. The wave proved to be reasonably reliable but limited in vertical extent, the maximum height reached being 3,400' asl, this being achieved by David McKinney flying K21 KLW solo and by Geoff Hughes in Astir KRN, their flight times being 1:24 and 1:13 respectively. Steve Thompson and Nurat Khan flying the DG500 and Rob Bailey in the DG303 made up the 4 flights to exceed an hour, with Steve and Nurat having 1:22 and Rob 1:03. Bill Payton flying the Discus led the tranche of 9 other pilots to exceed 30 minutes, Bill's flight time being 51 minutes, this group also including the 2 First Flight pupils of the day, one of whom was Betty Malkingson, a sprightly 91 year old. The day's 17 ATs were complemented by 2 Falke flights. Flying continued until just before sunset, the following photo by Roger Burghall signalling a warm YGC welcome to the returning DG303 as a colourful sunset developed.