Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th May 2018
Posted: 18/05/2018 18:16
Tuesday 15th. High pressure was firmly in charge, leading to a day of sunny blue skies, light W'ly winds and an absence of Cumulus. The result was a busy launch point, a preponderance of circuits and a scattering of soaring flights throughout the day. The number of private owner launches reached 9, boosted by two flights for syndicate members Chris Thirkell and Dave McKinney in their recently acquired ASW28, two flights for Paul Bulmer in his Swallow and 2 flights for Nick Gaunt in his LS7, the first being a taster of 23 minutes for a much longer second of 2:11, in which Nick explored the North Yorkshire Moors as far as Ingleby Bowl and Helmsley. Other pilots to exceed an hour included Rob Bailey in his ASG29 who went west to better conditions over the Pennines and visited Pateley Bridge, Grimwith Reservoir, Leyburn, Aysgarth and Masham in a 2:48 flight, while Ken Arkley flew his LS8-18 for 1:30 and Andy Parish and Pete Thelwall had 1:03 in the DG1000. Andy Beamont had 50 minutes in the Astir, as did Tony Drury and Mile Higher K Dobson in K21 KLW, with Ron Beezer and Richard Ackroyd having 45 minutes in the DG1000 and Stan and new member Pete Brocklebank 40 minutes in KLW, some of the 9 flights to exceed 30 minutes.
Wednesday 16th. A SE'ward tracking, weak cold front brought a spot or two of rain but mainly cloudy skies on a light to moderate WNW'ly wind , the cloud eventually lifting and clearing and allowing 5 First Flight pupils an introduction to gliding under the tutelage of Stan and John Tayler in K21 KLW. Starting at 1430 hrs and continuing until just after 1700 hrs, the above flights were all that were flown on the day.
Thursday 17th. The post front airmass was a cold one, with the overnight temperature dropping to 4.2C and the day's maximum being 11.3C. Prospects for a good soaring day were therefore good, and streeting Cumulus from early on were looked at with some anticipation as a number of private owners rigged. Rob Rose in his Nimbus was off at 10:49 hrs heading for Oakham, to be followed into the air by another 9 private owners and later, Andy Parish, who willingly accepted the chance to fly Polly Whitehead's and Jim Mcleans ASW24 for a couple of hours. The general concensus was to depart to the south and south west but Steve Thompson set his eyes on a flight to Morecombe Bay. Apart from Rob, most of the cross country pilots had to amend their ideas while on task, as the cumulus soon turned to strato cummulus and then, after an improvement in conditions, a sheet of Cirrostratus led to a marked reduction and than the disappearance of Cu around mid-afternoon. Steve Thompson acheived his objective of reaching Morecombe Bay courtesy of some cloud climbs over the Pennines, but on his return to the east gave up on trying to reach Catterick and eventually had to land at Bagby and be retrieved by AT after covering 216 km. Paul Whitehead in his Ventus and George Rowden in his LS8 both gave up on venturing much further south than Doncaster due to overcast skies and a lowering cloud base. Paul eventually flew to Richmond before returning to site, a flight of around 210 km, while George set off to visit Bishop Auckland but the disappearing Cu to the north and west meant he got no further than Northallerton, covering 163 km. Martyn Johnson flew his DG600 around Garforth and Wetherby to notch up 102 km while Bill Payton and John Dore flew Ripon, Harrogate North and Pontefract in Bill's DG1000, but with conditions deteriorating, had to get the engine out to get enough height to overfly Sherburn's ATZ. Rob Rose meanwhile had managed to survive the poor conditions around Pontefract/ Sheffield to reach Oakham and made it back to Sutton with 354 km under his belt, in spite of feeling that every thermal he used north of the Humber was likely to be his last. The hard luck story of the day must, however, belong to John Ellis, who self launching in his DG800, had a system malfunction on reaching his launch height that meant he couldn't retract the engine. An engine out landing after 11 minutes of flight time was the result. So an interesting flying day with plenty of discussion among private owners post flight and a day's launch total of 24 ATs off runway 02.