Friday 26th May to Wednesday 31st May
Posted: 01/06/2017 12:38
Friday 26th. A moderate, and at times fresh, SSE'ly ushered in the warmest day of the year so far, with isolated and transient Cu appearing around lunch time. However, soaring proved to be difficult with only one flight, that by John Ellis in his DG800, and that off the last launch of the day, exceeding an hour, 1:17 to be precise, while another 5 flights of the 10 ATs flown on the day exceeded 30 minutes. Andy Parish flew one of the latter with Mr Beveridge, amounting to 50 minutes in K21 KLW, with Alan Beaumont, flying the same glider solo, having 45 minutes. Robin Hutchinson took his Mile High pupil, Richard, for 38 minutes in the DG1000 to join the > 30 minute list, Richard being 1 of the 4 First Flight pupils of the day. With a lack of much in the way of soaring opportunities some pilots opted for the Falke which had 3 flights.
Saturday 27th. The hot weather continued, with flying in the stable conditions coming to an end in the early afternoon as the first of 2 bands of vigorous thunderstorms crossed the site, the second and more active band arriving around 1700 hrs. Flying was limited to 8 ATs into a initially light to moderate SE'ly flow, with the day resulting in no flights of over an hour and only 3 in excess of 30 minutes. Martyn Johnson and Derek Taylor set the ball rolling with 31 minutes in K21 JVZ off the first launch of the day, a similar time being achieved later in the day as Martyn took Anne Hopwood, one of the 3 First Flight pupils of the day, in the same glider. Indeed it was another First Flight pupil, Mr Lowther who had the longest flight of the day, 34 minutes, again in K21 JVZ. The thunderstorms were accompanied by some strong and gusty winds as well as torrential rain, 11 mm falling, the passage of the second line of storms resulting in the wind becoming SW'ly at the end of the day.
Sunday 28th. The moderate W'ly wind fairly quickly declined to light to moderate and veered into the N, the result being an early spell of winch launching, 7 in all, followed by a more prolonged spell of ATing, with 23 flown. The early morning conditions, the first launch was at 0853 hrs, provided some hill soaring opportunities, with 4 of the 7 winch launches exceeding an hour, Darren Lodge in his LS8-18 having just under 2 hours, Jesper Mjels in the DG303 1:15, with the same time recorded by Tony Drury in his DG303. John Marsh and Mark Newburn also made it over the hour with 1:08 in K21 KLW. The later ATing was much less productive in soaring terms, with only 2 flights exceeding an hour and a further 4 > 30 minutes, the longer flights, 3:36 by Martyn Johnson in his DG600 and 1:37 by John Marsh in his DG303, both taking off shortly after the transition from winching to ATing. The longest flights after these early forays owed more to high tows than rising air as Andy Hatfield took his Mile High pupil Mike McCormack for 48 minutes in K21 JVZ and John Carter took his Mile High pupil Mr Hayes for 40 minutes in the DG1000. A more regulation AT saw Jesper Mjels and G Bell have 39 minutes in the DG1000.
Monday 29th. A shallow low pressure system slowly moving northwards kept the site in a cloudy and moist E'ly flow, the occasional and light rain only amounting to 1.4 mm in total but ensuring there was no flying.
Tuesday 30th. A light to moderate WSW'ly flow under generally cloudy skies saw flying commence just before lunch time, the delay being due to a low cloud base. Most of the early ATs of the 21 flown on the day were for a group of 9 visiting pilots from RAF Linton on Ouse, on site to learn about the activities and potential of gliding flights. This ATing activity led to 2 flights of over an hour, with Paul Whitehead and Oliver Riddle having 1:15 in K21 KLW and John Carter and Phil Turner having 1:03 sister glider JVZ. Ron Beezer and Martin Clowes got close to an hour with 52 minutes in KLW, the same flight time being achieved by Mike Collins flying the DG500 solo, while Steve Thompson and Lee Grindrod had 51 minutes in the DG1000 around 1900 hrs as some weak wave was utilised. Around 1800 hrs a weak cold front crossed the site, depositing no rain, but the wind strength increased to moderate to fresh. This change in conditions meant that winching became the launch method, although changes in wind speed due to wave interference led to some variable hill soaring conditions that resulted in some early landings and a return to ATing. In all 6 winch launches were flown in between ATs, as the Tuesday evening ab initio flying continued until just before 2100 hrs. Ron Beezer and Christina Griffiths made the most of the hill soaring conditions with 1:02 in K21 JVZ, Christina also having 31 minutes with Steve Thompson in the same glider. The club also welcomed Richard Thomas, a recent visitor to the club as part of the Corporate Group who flew on Monday 22nd May, Richard flying with Fred Brown in K21 KLW. Mike Collins went solo on the winch, so congratulations to him and subsequently contacted the weak wave, leaving it as the the sun started to set.
Wednesday 31st. A transient High pressure system was in place for Wednesday's flying after a cold night, the wind being initially a light to moderate WSW'ly that slowly backed throughout the day, eventually becoming S'ly. Early hopes of a good soaring day led to a busy time in the private owners rigging area but a large area of thick cirrus covered the site from mid morning until early afternoon, reducing the heating power of the sun with consequent effects on thermal activity. The clearing of this high cover and the transition to a clear blue sky soon led to thermal activity, although the resulting Cu were shallow and transient. Nevertheless, the first of the 11 flights to exceed an hour took off at 1345 hrs with the last one taking off at 1621 hrs. 7 of these > 1 hour flights exceeded 2 hours, with the list including George Goodenough in his Cirrus with 2:49, Graham Bell in his Discus T with 2:47, 2:36 for Bill Payton and Stuart Heaton in their DG1000t, 2:29 for Mark Newburn in the DG303, this flight being more productive than his first in the same glider, 2:12 for Nigel Burke in his DG600, 2;11 for Martin White in his Pegase and 2:10 for Les Raymond in his Ventus. Most of the above and other soaring pilots stayed relatively local but Graham Bell visited Northallerton, Askrigg and Masham, Les Raymond Ripon and Boroughbridge while Phil Lazenby visited Boroughbridge and Helmsley in the Discus during his 1:54 flight. Pilots reported strong. narrow lift with corresponding heavy sink, the cloud base eventually rising to around 4,500' asl. Among those enjoying a sunny day's gliding and eventually soaring, were a group of students from Durham University and 5 First Flight pupils, with the day recording 43 launches behind either the Eurofox or Super Cub off runway 20. It was a particularly special day for Chris Haresnape who successfully went solo, so congratulations to Chris.