Sunday 22nd to Monday 23rd September 2019
Posted: 24/09/2019 20:02
Sunday 22nd. A bright start to Sunday, as a light to moderate ESE'ly blew, saw operations commence off runway 20 around 1030 hrs as Toby Wilson took the first of the day's 4 First Flight pupils for a flight in K21 JVZ. However, rapidly thickening cloud removed any possibility of convective lift and with the wind slowly veering into the SE and declining in strength any possibilities of any other kind of lift also evapourated. Flying did, however, continue until 1430 hrs before rain arrived to put an end to procedings, the launch total for the day being 10. The majority of the flying was in the club's two K21s, but Mike Collins provided a little bit of variety with 2 flights in Astir HVK, while John Marsh and First Flight pupil C Davies recorded the longest flight of the day, 24 minutes. Meanwhile at Millfield, the day’s flying started with Polly having a site check with Bob Beck. (The runway in use – south-easterly – has few rope break options from low down, although they do exist, but it’s quite easy to turn back to the airfield once above about 300 ft). They towed to 2500ft up the College Valley as a stunning wave bar developed in front of them. After release, they encountered a solid 3 kts to 3300 ft, but then someone turned the switch off and they found nothing further, landing after 30 minutes (the wave bar dissipated as suddenly as it formed). A later launch with John Carter and Keith Davey was much more successful; they reached 7400 ft in their flight of 1:38. Bob took the opportunity to fly his Ventus and Paul W took Martin Joyce in the DG1000, Bob having 3:15 and a climb to about 6000 ft, while Paul and Martin had a flight to over 7000 ft during their 2 hour flight. Jim McLean flew the ASW24 and also contacted the wave, as did John Ellis, self launching in his DG808. All reported some poor visibility and some encountered rain, which never really amounted to much. Tor Tavener has now joined the party, but didn’t fly today. The Ahernes spent a day at Alnwick Castle, having lunch in the Tree House. A post-flying trip to the Tankerville was called for where we all discussed the day’s flying over a beer or two. Those staying in the Tankerville decided to eat there, and others have decamped to their cottages to dine in. Thank you Max for your good wishes….we miss you!
Monday 23rd. Those arriving for morning briefing found the site in cloud and light rain, but by the time briefing was completed brighter skies could be seen arriving from the SW. However, although the setting up of the launch point on runway 20 was accomplished in bright sunshine, by the time the gliders were in position, extensive low cloud had developed that resulted in that great British tradition, the tea break. This allowed the cloud to break and lift and flying to commence around 1140 hrs, some convective lift being available under a 1,500' QFE cloud base. The day's soaring potential continued to improve as the cloud base rose, eventually reaching around 4,000' asl tempting 3 private owners, Rob Bailey in his ASG29t, regular visitor Graham Morris in his ASW27 and Nora van Genugten in her Ka6 to launch. Rob ventured south but didn't reach his intended goal of Pontefract but did reach Wetherby South and to the east of York in his flight of 3:31. Graham, on the other hand, was aloft for just over 5 hours within a circular area of 20 km radius of the site while Nora had just over an hour also locally. Just over an hour was also the result of flights by Bruce Grain and Ed Silmon in K21 JVZ, Ian McFarlon and First Flight pupil Mr Hallisan in JVZ and Martin Clowes in Astir HVK. As well as the > 1 hour flights, the day's 25 launches also resulted in 5 flights of over 30 minutes on very pleasant late September soaring day. Meanwhile, at Milfield, the conditions were somewhat of a curate’s egg. The organisation had elected to accept the minor crosswind in order to use the longer take-off run. John C and Bob took the first launch in the DG1000 to conduct some instructional stuff, and succeeded in contacting wave, topping out at approx 4600 ft and having a flight of around 90 mins. Tor launched his ASW20 on one of the last flights before the wind freshened necessitating a change of runway, but by then the soaring conditions had changed and he failed to find either wave or usable thermals. Polly then took launch in the ASW24, but despite being directly underneath DS2, she couldn’t make wave contact either, instead scrambling round in broken thermals for 50 minutes. As she joined circuit, she heard John Ellis announcing he was passing 10,000 ft, though he never really climbed much higher. Martin Joyce took a launch in the 303, and Keith Davey took two launches, but neither stuck to the sky. Tor had another go, and had an extended flight in thermal. Paul struggled in the Ventus using thermal only (and a bit of an engine burn), as did Tim Stanley in his ASW20. Marian had a bit of a sledge ride in the DG1000 with Bob, and the Top Man award must go to Jim McLean who had a flight of 2:35, reaching 10,500 ft, though he confessed to ‘flirting a bit’ with the cloud to contact the wave.
Bob’s two brothers, Tom and James arrived in Tom’s Jodel G-BJOB (yes really!). Tom will be staying for a couple of days, but James has had to return from whence he came. The three of them chose to catch up over an evening meal in the Tanky, while the rest of the exped had a fun evening in the No 1 Tapas Bar. If I could work out how to upload photos, I would do so!!!!