Tuesday (evening) 9th to Thursday 11th May 2017
Posted: 11/05/2017 19:26
Tuesday Evening 9th. After the 12 ATs during the day, a further 18 were flown off runway 24 into a clear blue sky, with the first 2 flights making use of the residual thermal activity of the day, with both of them exceeding 30 minutes flying time. Thus Ron Beezer and Peter Wright had 47 minutes in the DG1000 with John Carter and Christina Griffiths having 32 minutes in K21 JVZ. Thereafter flight times declined both due to a lack of lift in the light SW'ly, but also due to a number of the ab initio pilots taking 1000' launches behind the Eurofox not only to take advantage of the reduced AT cost but to practice their circuit flying. In among all the above training activity, Peter Clay took the opportunity to fly his Ventus ct for the first time.
Wednesday 10th. The promise of a good thermic day encouraged 14 private owners to rig and fly, including Brian Wise and Tor Taverner who flew the T21. The light to moderate N'ly wind slowly backed into the SE over the course of the day and thermic activity commenced around 1000 hrs continuing until the late afternoon and allowing some long flights to be accomplished, although those going south found poorer conditions with only weak blue thermals. This resulted in 3 of the day's cross country pilots abandoning their tasks and returning northwards, although this did not stop John Ellis in his DG800 completing a non declared 411 km flight with TPs at Carlton, Scunthorpe, Sedburgh and Pickering after abandoning his original intention to get to Saltby. Paul Whitehead in his Ventus also abandoned his southerly intentions around Newark, returning to more friendly northern skies via Scunthorpe and then continuing northwestwards to Masham, where conditions deteriorated so much an engine burn was required., but not before Paul had covered just under 300 km. The third pilot to abandon his task to the south was Steve Thompson who covered 223 km in his Discus, after abandoning his attempt to get to Grantham at Darlton and then surviving a low save near Gainsborough. Those who stayed within the better air north of the Humber fared better, with Dick Cole taking the Discus around TPs to the east and north of the site to cover 161 km, identifying some shear wave in the process, while Tony Drury flew his DG303 around the 100 km Sut/Rufforth/Pocklington/Sut triangle for the first time. Les Rayment, flying his Ventus visited Malton, Pickering, Helmsley, Northallerton and Thirsk to cover 157 km. Flight times were in excess of 5 hours and 19 of the day's 39 ATs exceeded an hour, with a further 13 exceeding 30 minutes, with John Hart in his Vega and George Goodenough in his Standard Cirrus having around 4 hrs each. John flew around 180 km on his first flight of the year, getting to the east of Pickering and noting sea air intrusion at Snainton, before visiting Malton, Beverley, Pocklington and Rufforth before returning to site. Cloud base to the east of the site was around 4,000' asl, but around 5,000' asl west of York, with John Ellis reporting around 5,300' over the Pennines. Mike Smith and Rob Bottomley both flew the DG303 for just under 2 hours, with Andy Parish and Paul Bulmer confirming that lift was still available in the late afternoon with a flight of just over an hour in K21 KLW from a 1638 hr take off. Another 2 seater flight saw John Carter and Ken Duxbury have 59 minutes in K21 JVZ. Among all the above activity, there was time to fly 10 members of the RAF from Linton on Ouse as well as a single First Flight pupil.
Thursday 11th. Conditions hadn't apparently changed much overnight, and with sunny, if slightly more opaque skies, a number of private owners rigged in anticipation of another good day's thermal activity. However, Cumulus were reluctant to appear and when they did around lunch time, were ragged and isolated, probably a function of both the slight change in wind direction and strength compared to Wednesday, a cool and moderate ESE'ly blowing, and a strong inversion around 2,000' QFE. Operations off runway 20 had to contend with a significant cross wind and were restricted to 3 ATs for 2 First Flight and a single Mile High pupil, all flown by John Carter, in either K21 KLW or the DG1000, but even with over 4,000' to play with from the mile high sortie, the flight time was only 30 minutes, as conditions aloft were turbulent without providing any significant lift.