Thursday 1st to Sunday 4th June 2017
Posted: 05/06/2017 19:51
Thursday 1st. A moderate SW'ly blew for most of the day and while the generally cloudy skies restricted soaring opportunities, nevertheless, 4 of the day's 19 ATs led to flights in excess of an hour, with 9 further flights exceeding 30 minutes. The conditions did allow 5 First Flight pupils to be introduced to soaring, with all having at least 30 minutes in the air, while the only two solo flights saw Duncan Pask have exactly an hour in his LS10 and Colin Troise have 1:07 flying K21 KLW solo. Colin also recorded the longest flight of the day, 1:38, when sharing the flying of the DG1000 with David McKinney, the longevity of the day's soaring opportunities being illustrated by Colin's flight in the DG1000 which took off around 1100 hrs and his later solo flight in KLW at 1630 hrs. The longest of the >30 minute flights both featured Andy Parish, first with Alan Beamish with 48 minutes in KLW and then with Gerry Murphy with 45 minutes in the DG1000.
Friday 2nd. A slow moving cold front kept the site in a cloudy, light to moderate SW'ly airstream that veered into the WSW later in the day. 10 ATs were flown, all for a 10 strong group of RAF pilots from Linton on Ouse, the low cloud base initially limiting tows to 1000' QFE, although a rising cloud base allowed tows to 2,000' QFE later. The instructing duties were shared by Andy Parish, Graham Evison and John Tayler, with Jon Trueman, an RAF pilot and gliding instructor from Linton flying the last two launches.
Saturday 3rd. The airmass behind Friday's cold front provided a good soaring day that meant the launch point was busy from early on to after 1800 hrs. A problem with the exhaust on the Eurofox meant that towing duties were the sole prerogative of the Super Cub and in order to maximise the launch rate, pilots were requested to release as early as possible. This they did, aided by the Tuggies finding lift as quickly as possible, with the result that 39 launches were flown, a tribute to the work of all the pilots, tuggies and ground crew that led Club President, Nick Gaunt to issue a public commendation and thank you to them all via this Blog. All but 4 of the day's flights exceeded 30 minutes, with 28 over an hour and 8 of around 4 hours or more. Graham Bell in his Discus T was aloft for 6:38, venturing as far west at Kirby Stephen and Brough, before returning and visiting Northallerton, Ripon and Boroughbridge, while Darren Lodge had 5:14 in his LS8-18 and flew a Sutton/Goole/Northallerton/Burn/Sutton task of 186 kms. Other flights of >4 hours included Les Raymend who had 5:04 in his Ventus, turning Goole NE/Pontefract/Catterick and the Tontine to cover 213 km, while Nick Gaunt attempted to get to High Force but was defeated by a lack of lift beyond Barnard Castle and turned at Middleton in Teesdale before returning to the Tontine, Pickering and Malton, a distance of around 210 kms. At one point in his flight Nick took a cloud climb in smooth lift to over 9,000' asl during which his vario iced up. On his way back to site Nick had an encounter of the close kind with a Drone over Easingwold while at 4,000' asl. Someone else who found a lack of lift west of Barnard Castle was David Latimer, who after visiting Grains, a TP west of Selset Reservoir, as part of an investigation into the possibility of flying a 500 km task within Yorkshire, had to fire up the engine of his Ventus in order to reconnect with the convection further to the east and continue with his flight which eventually lasted 4:15. John Carter and Mark Newburn, flying the DG1000 tried for a fast circuit of the local 100 km triangle with TPs at Pocklington and Rufforth and were doing well until meeting a dead patch near York, a later strong climb followed by a fast final glide saw them complete the task at 90 kph handicapped, just beating the handicapped speed of Paul Whitehead in his Ventus who flew the same task the other way round at 87.7 kph. After completing the above task, John and Mark went west towards Ripon before returning east to visit Thirsk, Northallerton, the Tontine, and Kirbymoorside, covering in all around 290 km in their 3:32 flight. Fred Brown, flying his Ventus earlier in the day before handing it over to Paul Whitehead, visited Pontefract, Sutton Control Point South and Masham to cover 171 km, while George Goodenough flew his Cirrus 111 km around the Tontine and Pontefract and Conrad Thwaites had 3:51 in his Discus and visited Pocklington, York and Carlton Bank. Albert Newbery and Ian Johnston had 3:25 in Albert's DG1000t with Toby Wilson flying Astir DPO for 1:10, the same glider being flown by J v Hock for 1:05 before he flew the DG303 later for 1:50. Soaring conditions continued into the evening with Andy Parish and Young Kim having a flight of 42 minutes in K21 KLW off the last flight of the day at around 1800 hrs. In spite of all this soaring activity, the unpredictability of soaring in the UK was demonstrated by Bill Payton landing out in the Discus somewhere to the north of Carlton Bank.
Sunday 4th. Sunday saw the wind stay in the WSW and increase to moderate to fresh, gusting into the mid 20 kts during the latter half of the day. This meant that although ATing was the preferred launch method up until the early afternoon, 16 being flown, winching dominated the rest of the flying day, with 11 flown. The AT launches were favoured by the 3 First Flight pupils of the day and generated 2 flights of greater than an hour and a further 7 over 30 minutes. The 2 > 1 hour pilots were Chris Booker in Astir DPO and Rob Bailey in his ASG29t with flight times of 1:23 and 1:19 respectively while Graham Taylor had 53 minutes in the DG303. John Marsh and Zac Perera topped the two seater duration list with 49 minutes in the DG500, closely followed by Andy Hatfield and Coware Durkin with 43 minutes in K21 JVZ and Brian Wise and Andrew Stenett with the same time in the DG500. Winch launches realised a higher percentage of flights greater than an hour with 4 being achieved, as pilots took advantage of hill lift, thermal and even some weak wave. These conditions were enjoyed by John Carter and David Latimer who had 1:31 in K21 KLW, Chris Knapp who had 1:21 in the DG303 and Graham Evison and Derek Taylor who had 1:15 in the DG1000.