Tuesday 4th to Thursday 6th September 2018
Posted: 07/09/2018 10:29
Tuesday 4th. A cool and cloudy day with an initially moderate NW'ly wind kept the hangar doors firmly shut, a lessening of the wind strength and a brightening of the skies coming too late to allow any flying to take place. Another thing coming late is my thanks to Phil Lazenby for taking over the writing of the Blog for a significant part of August due to my absence on holiday and later the running of Task Week.
Wednesday 5th. The cloud had returned overnight, the wind now a light to moderate NNW that progressively veered into the NNE and reduced in strength. Flying was delayed until the middle of the afternoon and was restricted to 7 ATs off runway 02, although thsee were complemented by 6 Falke flights. The cloud gradually broke up and its base rose, allowing tows to 3,000' QFE, but even these were insufficient to extend flight times beyond 20 minutes, and flight times from 2,000' tows were generally around 15 minutes.
Thursday 6th. Flying got underway just after 1000 hrs with the trailer park a scene of activity in response to a positive forecast of soaring weather. However, the cloudy remnants of an overnight front, although not affecting general flying, delayed the start of local convection until the sunnier skies to the west with their asscociated Cu gradually approached to within gliding distance, causing a rush at the launch point that was accomodated by the use of 3 tugs. The day was, however, variable in many different ways. The surface wind, initially a light NW, so operations were off runway 24, became at various times, S'ly and SE'ly in response to a number of significant showers that developed, while cloud amounts ranged from 0/8ths to 8/8ths. The showers and spreadout meant that those who attempted crosscountry flights had to abandon declared tasks and either follow the weather or return to Sutton. Visitors Barry Kerby and M Coppee in Barry's Duo Discus attemped a 130 km Sut/ Staindrop/Ripon/Sut triangle but had to get the engine out on the last leg as a preceding shower had killed off the convection. Derek Smith in his DG800 and Rob Bailey in his ASG29 both followed the weather, Derek travelling 181 km, principally over the NY Moors, and Rob 230 km as he visited Staindrop, Hawes, Pickering and Malton. Bill Payton and Stuart Heaton in their DG1000, also followed the weather, going north into Co Durham after visiting Northallerton and then back south to Pateley Bridge before returning to Sutton, a distance of around 160 km. George Rowden in his LS8-18 completed the first leg of his Sut/Richmond/Garforth/ Tontine/Sut task but with rain on the leg to Garforth utilised his climb to just over 5,000' asl near Richmond to return to Sutton under extensive spread out. Most of the other private owners stayed local but contributed to the 11 flights to exceed an hour. Mike Greenacre, flying the Astir, joined the > 1 hr group, with 1:17, while Paul Whitehead and Andy Evans shared 57 minutes in the DG1000 and late on Andy Parish and Jerry H-N had 44 minutes in K21 KLW. The day also saw John Carter do his first tow in the Pawnee, so congratualtions to him. An interesting day's flying came to an end after 40 launches, with the last of the fleet put back in the hangar as the first drops of rain from an approaching shower fell.