Monday 12th to Thursday 15th June 2017
Posted: 15/06/2017 21:47
Monday 12th. A predominately moderate to fresh, W'ly wind gusting into the high 20 kts ensured it was a winching day, with good hill lift and evident wave, although the day's cloudiness meant getting into the wave was somewhat problematical. 14 winch launches were flown, all in one or other of the club's four 2 seaters and, with the hill working well, this resulted in only 3 of the flights failing to exceed 30 minutes, with 3 exceeding an hour. The pilots who did succeed in contacting the wave were John Tayler and Tony Kirby who climbed to 4,300' asl in the DG500 and John Carter and Phil Turner who recorded the best height of the day, just over 7,000' asl over the A1 to the west of the site in the DG1000. Other pilots to make the most of the conditions included Steve Wilkinson and Christina Griffiths who had 1:52 in K21 JVZ and John Carter and Mikael Wallace who had 50 minutes in the DG500. Mikael and Christina were two of the four attendees having a good start to their week's gliding course, the other course members being Jon Wallace and Andy Copeland. The club also welcomed back Steve Wilkinson as one of the course instructors.
Tuesday 13th. The wind was now a light to moderate WSW'ly, so it was back to ATing with 28 flown, this including 4 private owner launches and 4 for First Flight pupils, but there was no demand for any of the club single seaters. It was another generally cloudy day, but a convergence to the SW of the site provided some interesting soaring for a while and contributed to 4 of the day's flights exceeding and hour and a further 6 exceeding 30 minutes. John Ellis with 3:23 in his DG800 and Martyn Johnson with 2:23 in his DG600 were two of the pilots to enjoy the soaring offered by the convergence, while John Carter and course member Mikael Wallace had 1:15 in the DG1000. Ron Beezer and Christina Griffiths took a long and high tow out to the west in the DG1000 in order to do some spinning exercises only to find themselves climbing well in wave that took them to around 8,000' asl over Dishforth, from which height the spinning excercises were readily performed. Meanwhile, Andy Parish flying with Jon Wallace in one of the 4 Falke flights of the day also contacted the wave and climbed to just under 7,000' asl in gliding mode. The day extended into the evening as the Tuesday evening ab initio flying maintained the demand on the 2 seaters until the last flight landed at around 2130 hrs.
Wednesday 14th. The skies had cleared and, with the prospect of a good soaring day ahead, the airfield was soon busy with private owners rigging, the wind being initially a light to moderate S'ly, this soon backing into the SSE. The appearance of some high top cover put a bit of a damper on soaring prospects but with Cumulus forming by mid morning, albeit with a low base, prospects for a soaring day remained good. However, the high top cover steadily thickened by lunch time with the result that convection was completely stifled, the resulting lack of soaring opportunities being demonstrated by the fact that of 5 private owners who took off around this time, only Rob Bailey in his ASG29t managed a flight time in excess of 30 minutes, his 42 minutes including a very close look of Lindsay McLean's farm. Nick Gaunt, who took off in his LS7 earlier in the morning was the only pilot to exceed an hour, having 1:13 in his LS7 while Steve Wilkinson and Mikael Wallace, taking off at a similar time to Nick had 45 minutes in the DG1000. The day's next longest flights resulted from take offs in the late afternoon as the high cover thinned sufficiently for convection to get going again. Thus Chris Booker had 52 minutes in Astir DPO having taken off at 1622 hrs, and John Carter and Mikael Wallace had 45 minutes in the DG1000 having taken off at 1512 hrs. Mike Smith, taking off at 1619 hrs in the DG1000 with Chris Dagnel had 46 minutes although their tow to 4,300' to sastisfy Chris' Mile High requirements helped.
Thursday 15th. A dry cold front crossed the site late morning bringing a freshening of the wind from a light to moderate WSW to a moderate to fresh wind from the same direction. The day had started with ATs off runway 24 behind the Eurofox, but the increase in wind strength meant a change to the Pawnee followed later by a change to winching. The early ATs, of which there were 9, all resulted in flight times in excess of 30 minutes with 4 exceeding an hour as hill and thermal lift were later complemented by wave. The more unstable air mass behind the cold front provided some strong thermals and a cloud base around 4,500' asl. Bill Payton and Albert Newbery, taking the last of the day's ATs in their DG1000t, were aloft for 4:26 as the visited Ripon, Pateley Bridge and Rufforth, an encounter with the wave resulting in a climb to 6,300' asl. Other pilots to enjoy the soaring conditions off an AT included Mike Greenacre, with 1:10 in Astir DPO and John Carter and Mikael Wallace with 1:15 in the DG1000, while Bob Beck and Neville Smalley set the ball rolling with 1:04 in K21 JVZ off the first flight of the day. The day's 14 winch launches gave rise to 7 flights of > 1 hour with the remainder in excess of 30 minutes, plus 2 cross country flights. The first of these saw Steve Thompson and David McKinney take the DG500 to Ripon, the Tontine , 11 km short of their next TP, Masham covering 90 km in all, their 2:44 flight including a 1000' climb in wave to around 5,400' asl. Phil Lazenby, flying the DG303 set a 210 km task around Sutton/Knaresborough/Staindrop/Wetherby/Sutton and would have completed the task after contacting wave over Boroughbridge from some strong and broken thermals and climbing to around 12,000' asl. However, advancing 8/8ths cloud cover led to a decision to turn back to Sutton while over Catterick on the leg to Staindrop with the flight distance of the foreshortened task being 107 km. Other pilots to exceed an hour in the air included Duncan Pask with 2:37 in his LS10, John Carter and Chris Booker with 1:09 in K21 KLW, Bob Beck and Ken Duxbury with 1:07 in the DG1000, Steve Wilkinson and Tony Smyth with 1:07 in K21 JVZ and Andy Parish and Andy Wilmot with 1:08 in KLW. In all the day produced over 32 hour of gliding time, the 4 First Flight pupils of the day contributing over 2 hours towards this total. The cloud cover that caused Phil Lazenby to abandon his declared task later was accompanied by rain that reached the site around 1800 hrs.