Monday 5th to Sunday 11th June 2017
Posted: 11/06/2017 18:30
Monday 5th. A moderate and at times fresh SSE'ly airstream slowly veered into the SSW over the course of the day, as a slow moving depression tracked northwards over the east of the UK, the accompanying rain lasting all of the flying day and amounting to 9mm in total. The combination of rain and low cloud kept the gliders and tugs tucked up in their hangars.
Tuesday 6th. The site was still under the influence of Monday's depression, with a further 23 mm of rain falling overnight and for most of the day. As the centre of the depression passed the site, the wind, starting off in the WSW, veered into the WNW and also increased from light to become fresh with gusts in the range of 28 to 35 kts, the atmospheric pressure at RAF Topcliffe dropping to 983 mb before recovering. The result, a non flying day.
Wednesday 7th. The site was now located in the windy area to the SW of the centre of the depression which was over the northern North Sea. A further 5 mm of rain fell overnight, but the main feature of the daytime weather was the wind which, initially from the WNW, slowly backed into the WSW and moderated from its initial fresh and gusty nature to become light to moderate by evening. This moderation did not come soon enough to allow any flying to take place other than on the simulator.
Thursday 8th. Another depression brought low cloud, a further 11 mm of rain and moderate SSE'ly winds to the site, the wind slowly veering into the SSW over the course of the day. Consequently, there was no flying.
Friday 9th. The weak ridge of high pressure in the wake of the departing depression provided a flying and a limited soaring day at Sutton, the wind being a moderate WSW'ly that soon veered into the W, the limited soaring description being due to periods of over-convection. 28 launches were flown, split 17/11 in favour of ATing/winching, the change in launch method occuring around 1700 hrs. The period of ATing accommodated the 5 First Flights of the day, one of which was for a Mile High pupil, and resulted in 8 flights of over an hour and 6 flights of over 30 minutes, 4 of the former being for private owners Rob Bailey, Steve Thopmson, Tony Drury and Derek Taylor. Rob Bailey was the only one of the four to post a flight on the BGA ladder, a 157 km task which included TPs at Aysgarth, Helmsley, Sutton and the Tontine, the O/R to the Tontine from Sutton making use of hill lift, while Steve Thompson posted the longest flight of the day, 2:27 in his Discus. Derek Taylor, bringing his ASW22 back on site, had 1:49 and Tony Drury had 1:50 in his DG303. Others to exceed 1 hour included Steve Ogden with 1:56 in Astir DPO, Paul Whitehead and Jesper Mjels with 1:18 in the DG1000, Joan Wilson with 1:07 solo in K21 KLW and Robin Hutchinson with 1:06 in the Discus. Andy Parish and Peter Robinson took the first winch launch at 1700 hrs and demonstrated the soarability of the hill with 53 minutes in K21 JVZ, with most of the following flights being for a group of 9 Scouts, flying coming to an end around 2030 hrs.
Saturday 10th. Friday's ridge of high pressure gave way to another depression, the resulting light and patchy rain in a moderate S'ly flow lasting for most of the day and preventing any flying except on the simulator. The eventual clearance came too late to allow any real flying to take place
Sunday 11th. A moderate, tending to fresh wind, varying between SSW and WSW, blew in a few showers after lunch, these together with the increasing gustiness of the wind leading to flying coming to a halt around 1520 hrs, but not before 10 ATs had been flown behind the Super Cub off runway 2o. The 10 ATs were split 6/4 between the club K21s and private owner launches, the latter comprising Martyn Johnson in his DG600, David Latimer in his Ventus and Jim McLean and Paul Whitehead flying a new kid on the block, an ASW 24. Hill lift, thermal and some wave contributed to the all but one of the day's flights exceeding 30 minutes, with 4 flights exceeding an hour and some moderate climbs in wave. Thus Martyn Johnson had 2:32 without getting a significant wave climb, while Jim Mclean, David Latimer and Paul Whitehead all reached between 5,500' and 6,000' asl, David getting as far west as the A1 in a flight of 1:18, and Jim and Paul having flight times of 1:04 and 52 minutes respectively. The only other pilot to exceed an hour was John Marsh who had 1:23 in his DG303. The longest 2 seater flight saw Peter Goodchild and Andy Evans have 50 minutes in K21 JVZ, while John Carter and Malcolm Morgan had 40 minutes in K21 KLW.