Friday 15th to Monday 18th March 2019
Posted: 18/03/2019 20:47
Friday 15th. Another very windy day with the moderate to fresh WSW'ly gusting into the mid 40 kts and bringing some showers. So no flying.
Saturday 16th. Another day of moderate to fresh winds, this time from the SSW, but while the gustiness had declined significantly, the reason there was no flying was rain, and plenty of it. Over 16mm fell over the course of the day with the result that a number of local rivers overflowed their banks leading to local flooding.
Sunday 17th. The skies had cleared, the rain had gone and the wind was now a moderate W'ly, albeit still gusting into the high 20 kts. Accordingly a day of winching off runway 24 resulted, with 30 launches flown and plenty of soaring flights. All the available two seaters were flown and 4 of the single seaters, the soaring flights including 8 in excess of an hour and a further 11 in excess of 30 minutes. The combination of a moderate W'ly and thermal activity led to some turbulent conditions on the hill and sporting approaches. Bill Payton, flying Astir DPO, did an O/R to Guisborough, covering around 96 km and also using thermal to climb to around 4,500' asl. A flight in the Discus got to the Tontine while one in the DG303 ventured north to Osmotherley, but whether the former visit was by Conrad Thwaites in his 40 minute flight, or by Tor Tavener in his 1 hour flight I do not know. Similarly, was it Roger Burghall (1:05), John Marsh (1:16) or Tony Drury (1:20) who included a trip to Osmotherley in their flights in the DG303. 7 of the 8 flights in excess of an hour were by single seater pilots with the odd one out (no finger pointing implied) being by Paul Whitehead and Jerry HN who had 1:02 in the DG1000. The best of the rest saw Paul Whitehead and Chris Thirkell have 50 minutes in K21 JVZ on a typical hill soaring day at Sutton, a day enjoyed by 4 First Flight pupils as well.
Monday 18th. A generally light W'ly and partially cloudy skies saw ATing off runway 24, the wind showing a tendency to back into the SW as the day progressed and cloud cover increased. 14 ATs were flown behind the Eurofox with some thermal activity lenthening flight times, although nobody exceeded an hour. Rob Bailey got closest with 52 minutes in the Discus, followed by John Carter and Simon Altman with 48 minutes in the DG500. John and Simon also contributed the shortest flight of the day, 2 minutes in K21 KLW, as Simon was treated to a simulated tug failure at 400' QFE, resulting in a downwind landing on runway 06 off the last flight of the day. The two other flights to exceed 30 minutes were by George Rowden with Lucy Scantlebury, one of the two First Flight pupils of the day, they spending 41 minutes aloft, while Chris Thirkell had 31 minutes flying newly returned K21 KLW solo. The lure of the very smart looking K21 KLW also proved irresistable to Polly Whitehead and David Watson, each of whom also flew it solo, with the following photo from John Carter recording Polly just about to depart in the refurbished KLW. Yes resplendent and gleaming in the afternoon sunshine, a true queen of the air (and the glider was looking good too).
Thanks are due to Graham Evison who collected it from Husbands Bosworth follwing its arrival there late last week from Poland. Photos of willing helpers rigging KLW in the morning sunshine are shown below with an attractive background of Cumulus.