Thursday 3rd to Monday 7th January 2019

Posted: 07/01/2019 21:14

Thursday 3rd.  The centre of the cloudy anticyclone  remained in place over the UK with the result that winds were light W'ly , the overcast cloudbase being low enough to restrict launch heights to 2,000' QFE or even below at times.  Consequently, only K21 JVZ was flown, Tom Kirby having all 4 dual flights with Paul Whitehead and Bob Spiller, Alan Beaumont, Tony Drury and Polly and Paul Whitehead each taking a solo launch.  The lack of any lift and the cloudbase restrictions meant flight times were at best 16 minutes, achieved by Tony Drury, with runway 20 being the chosen launch and landing location.

Friday 4th.  The high was still in place over the UK but clearer skies overnight and a veer in the light wind into the NW had allowed the temperature to fall below zero, an uncommon occurence this winter, with the daytime maximum being 2.5 C.  15 ATs were flown off runway 20 with K21 JVZ and the DG1000 utilised, the cloudbase of the returned overcast again restricting launch heights to 2,000' QFE or below.  Flight times were correspondingly predominately below 20 minutes, the exception being David Watson and Chris Thompson who had 21 minutes  in JVZ , the next best being the 16 minutes flown by Paul Whitehead and Josh Abbey in the same glider.  Chris and Steve Ogden shared 4 of the day's 5  solo flights with Geoff Turner having the other one. while the Falke was also flown.

Saturday 5th.  Little change in the synoptic situation meant another day of light winds and a launch height restricting overcast, this time in the form of altostratus billows.  Initially from the NW, the wind soon swung round to the S and 15 ATs were flown, initially off runway 20 but later off 24, with K21 JVZ and the DG500 providing transport for 2 seater and solo pilots.  3 Falke sorties were flown, their duration never being matched by the pure gliders with the 16 minutes flown by Albert Newbery and Andy Harper in the DG500 being the longest of the day. Jerry HN, Chris Haresnape and Fred Brown all flew JVZ solo, Jerry and Chris having 2 flights each.

Sunday 6th.  Sunday lived up to its name as extensive areas of blue sky dominated, the patches of cloud that did float above in the light W'ly, being high enough not to cause any launch problems.  12 ATs were flown off runway 24 with landings on 20 and early flights demonstrated the lack of lift, with flight times in the 15-20 minute bracket.  However, in the afternoon, Ron Beezer and Christina Griffiths took a high tow in K21 JVZ in an attempt to reach some lenticulars some way from the site.  This proved to be unsuccessful, but on returning to site they found a forming lenticular, its associated weak lift, while not enabling them to climb back to their launch height, did enable them to extend their flight time to an  hour.  Launches by Duncan Pask in the DG303 and Nora van G, also in the DG303 subsequent to Ron and Christina's flight, while not giving flight times as long, did enable them both the have around 30 minutes in the air.  The day's avaiting also saw the Falke have 3 flights.

Monday 7th.  A deep depression moving east over the top of Scotland brought a day of strong WSW'ly winds, which gusted into the mid 30 kts, low cloud and bits and pieces of rain, the conditions combining to keep the gliders in the hangar and the pilots at home or work.

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