Thursday 23rd to Tuesday 28th March 2017
Posted: 28/03/2017 17:20
Thursday 23rd. A moderate E'ly brought in copious amounts of low cloud and although this dispersed late in the afternoon, the improvement came too late to permit any flying.
Friday 24th. The initially light to moderate ENE'ly wind soon veered into the E under blue skies, as an anticyclone became established over the UK. By late morning some low Cu started to form but these soon disappeared to leave a sunny afternoon with some wispy high cover. The conditions led to 20 ATs being flown, with 5 leading to flights in excess of 30 minutes but none of over an hour, although Reg Rowlinson came close with 54 minutes solo in K21 JVZ. Others to exceed 30 minutes included Colin Troise and Simona Latimer with 48 minutes in the DG1000, Chris Knapp with 40 minutes in Astir KRN and John Tayler and Nick Gaunt with 36 minutes in JVZ, All these pilots took advantage of a brief period of soaring conditions which spanned the period from 1300 to 1500 hours. The last flight of the day landed at 1615 hours, the day's 3 First Flight pupils choosing a good day for their introduction to gliding.
Saturday 25th. With the anticyclone centred over the north of England, it was a light wind day at Sutton and also warm and sunny with a maximum temperature of 13.4C. The pleasant weather encouraged some private owners to rig and with 6 First Flight pupils, a group of Scouts and numerous members on site, the launch point was busy with 49 ATs completed by the end of flying at around 1800 hrs. Somewhat similar conditions to Friday saw a brief period of soaring weather in the early afternoon, with John Shaw having 54 minutes in his LS10 and Martin White having 46 minutes in Astir KRN. Peter Goodchild took Toby Wilson's guest, Kate Gulyas for 34 minutes in K21 JVZ while Duncan Pask, syndicate partner of John Shaw, had 38 minutes in their LS10. A further 5 flights exceeded 30 minutes with gliding activity being complemented by 3 Falke flights and the arrival and subsequent departure of 2 Grob 109bs, one from Enstone and the other from Currock Hill. Congratulations are due to Chris Booker who converted to the Astir and to Paul Bulmer, who with help, erected a fence around the tug refuelling area, so well done to them both.
Sunday 26th. Another sunny day under the influence of the anticyclone, with the wind a light to moderate mainly E'ly flow, led to 34 ATs being flown. The anticyclone's inversion had strengthened and lowered, so soaring opportunities had lessened compared to the two previous days, resulting in only one of the day's flights reaching 30 minutes, this being by Charles Willoughby in Astir KRN. Apart from this success, Charles went on to pass his Bronze C exam and then win the spot landing competition in aid of Red Nose day, this trio of successes suggesting that in future, Sunday 26th March should be known as Charles Willoughby day. The day saw 4 First Flight pupils and a further group of Scouts flown, one of the First Flight pupils, A Rudkin having 25 minutes with Mike Smith in the DG500, while Ron Beezer and Alex Firth had 26 minutes in K21 JVZ and Tony Drury in the DG303 and Joan Wilson solo in K21 KLW had 24 minutes of air time each. Tony's flight time no doubt was due to his flying skills but may have also been the result of Steve Wilson's and Jim McLean's work to fit the DG303 with a new LXS80 instrument. A split in an hydraulic pipe in the wheel brake circuit of the DG1000 meant the day's 2 seater fleet included the T21, giving those who flew it the chance to recreate the gliding experiences of yesteryear. Flying continued until just before 1800 hrs with the day seeing 3 Falke flights and a visit from Rufforth's new Eurofox tug.
Monday 27th. The anticyclone had started to decline but instead of another sunny day, the light to moderate E'ly had brought in a low overcast that persisted all day and prevented any flying from taking place.
Tuesday 28th. The anticyclone continued to decline as Atlantic fronts made slow progress towards the UK, the initially light SSE'ly wind slowly increasing to become moderate and the low overcast hugging the tops of the North Yorkshire Moors, the murky conditions accompanied by a wind chill temperature of 4C. With minimal improvement in the weather over the day, no flying was possible.