Tuesday 24th – Wednesday 25th July
Posted: 25/07/2018 22:17
Tuesday: George is off on his well earned holidays for a while so the understudy has taken over for a couple of weeks. There will not be the usual meticulous recording of each days events you are used to and there will be a certain amount of journalistic license, hopefully not descending into the now notorious false news!
In weather terms Tuesday was somewhat a non day with almost unbroken cloud cover, very light winds and temperatures in the low 20's. As a result the only gliders to fly were all the club 2-seaters. No private owners bothered to rig and the club singles remained in the hangar all day. However staff and member instructors worked flat out to provide instruction for those who needed it and make further inroads into the backlog of trial lessons. Only one flight (DG1000) exceeded half an hour and most were in the 15 - 20 minute bracket. Additionally the dedicated Tuesday evening team provided circuit instruction right through to dusk with the final landing close to 10pm. So a fruitful day's flying resulted from 43 launches, initially using the Eurofox then changing to the Pawnee for the evening stint.
Wednesday: A much more optimistic weather forecast meant a good turnout at briefing with expectations high for a good, albeit rare, soaring day. The optimism was more or less justified as thermic conditions did arrive mid morning and continued to late afternoon. Hopes for a 7000' cloud base were not realised, just over 5000ft being achieved by most pilots with the exception of a couple of climbs to 6000ft over the high ground. A thin layer of high cloud persisted over a wide area much of the day and was the most likely reason for x/c pilots experiencing variable conditions from quite good to "a bit tricky" in the words of one pundit. The day was roughly half blue and half shallow Cu. Four pilots - Paul Whitehead, Andy Wight, Rob Bailey and Steve Thompson - flew 300's choosing a range of tasks in all directions. Andy Wright seems to have had the best of the day in his jumbo sized Nimbus suggesting that his flight was something of a walk in the park. On the other hand Steve Thompson had a monumental struggle to get round but he did point out that his was the only true glider to complete. He has a point so well done Steve. A flotilla of pilot owners flew extended tasks round turning points in the area, most of them sticking to the areas where the lift was marked by Cu.
Highlight of flights in club singles was Toby Wilson's five hour Silver leg in the Astir. He also achieved Silver height. Rather than hang about the immediate area of Sutton Bank, Toby flew a cats cradle round a number of North Yorkshire TPs. Congrats to him. Chris Knapp had a couple of flights in the Discus, the first one quite brief as he paid the price of pulling off too early. His relight led to a flight of over 2 hours and visits to various TP's in the area. Frank Wilson took the 303 for a three hour flight and Phil Lazenby had a wander round in the K8 later in the afternoon, thus ensuring that the full fleet was utilised. Other than the shiny glass brigade it was good to see a couple of gliders from a bygone era in the air. Bill Payton had two nice soaring flights in the T21, the second of which was flown solo. Its believed he had aspirations to make it to York and back but wisely decided that conditions on the day were not sufficiently consistent for that to be feasible. Another colourful glider in the sky was the Swallow flown by Paul Bulmer who soared for almost a couple of hours, commenting that the glider was a joy to fly in the thermic conditions of the day.
Needless to say the club twins were busy all day with instructional and air experience flights. Late in the afternoon a group of ladies from a local WI came to join in the fun and experienced flights flown by the evening shift of volunteers on a calm and beautiful evening with good visibility. In summary a cracking day.