Thursday 12th to Monday 16th September 2019

Posted: 16/09/2019 21:33

Thursday 12th.  A moderate S'ly soon veered into the SW and increased to moderate to fresh over the middle of the day before declining to moderate, all the time accompanied by extensive cloud.   The presence of wave was evident by the transient slots  that kept appearing and disappearing in the cloud sheet, so cloud descents were a common feature of the day.  7 ATs were flown off runway 20 before the change in wind direction  and strength led to operations being switched to runway 24 and the launch method to winching, with 5 flown.  The day's soaring potential was indicated by 3/4's of the day's flights exceeding 30 minutes and 5 exceeding an hour, with Barry Kerby in his ASW 28 being aloft for just over 5 hours during which time he climbed to 10,100' asl and visited the Tontine, Catterick and ventured to the south of Easingwold.  The area just to the north of Easingwold was a wave hot spot, with Martyn Johnson in his DG600, John Ellis in his DG800 and some of the club 2 seaters spending time there.  Martyn climbed to 8,800' asl, John to 6,600 asl and Bruce Grain and Nigel Burke to 5,000' asl in the DG1000.  Visitor Andy Balkwell  in  his LS8 was another pilot to have >1hr aloft, with 1:11, while Andy Parish and Sharon Kerby had 1:09 in K21 JVZ.

Friday 13th.    A ridge of  high pressure provided a good thermal day which was reflected in a AT launch total of 31, including 13 by Private Owners and 23 flights of > 30 minutes, including 13 of > an hour as a light WNW'ly blew.  Two pilots, Derek Taylor in his ASW22 and John Ellis in his DG800 covered over 300 OLC kms, with Derek circumnavigating the Class D airspace of Doncaster Robin Hood airport with TPs at Alfreton and Newark.  John, on  the  other hand, completed his 193 km task around Doncaster NW, Masham and Boroughbridge and then, arriving back at Sutton with conditions still good, added on a tour to the NW of the site to ultimately yield 307 OLC km.  Other pilots to fly cross country included Paul Whitehead who flew Burn, Snainton, Kexby in his Ventus, a distance of 191 km, and Martyn Johnson who flew 150 km around Burn, Pickering and Thirsk but declined to visit his next TP at Church Houses as the day was dying. Visitor Barry Monslow flew his LS8 around the local 100 km triangle with TPs at Rufforth and Pocklington before landing back at Sutton and handing over the glider to Paul Balkwell who promptly completed the same task.  An unidentified pilot and glider, but probably Les Rayment in his DG800, visited Pocklington, Northallerton, Malton and Kexby, while Duncan Pask did an O/R to Pocklington.  Pilots reported unexpectedly good thermal condition for mid September, with strong climbs and a cloudbase up to 5,500' asl.   Those flying club gliders also enjoyed the conditions with Conrad Thwaites having 2:10 in the Discus, visiting Carlton in the process, Ian McFarlane taking Mile High pupil Nigel Copestake for 1:10 in K21 KLW and Bruce Grain and John Dore setting the day off well with 1:06 in the DG1000 off the 2nd launch of the day.

Saturday 14th.  A light SSE'ly soon veered into the SW and strengthened to moderate, but any hope of a repeat of Friday's good thermal conditions were dashed as the sky remained resolutely a somewhat hazy blue, apart that was, for occasional patches of rotor-Cumulus. The day's 27 ATs were off runway 24 behind the Pawnee with a number of pilots immediately contacting blue wave while others had to return to the hill and utilise the hill lift before utimately contacting the wave, often after a long period of hill soaring.  Fred Brown in his Ventus and George Rowden in his LS8-18 were two of the pilots to tow straight into the wave, Fred climbing to around 12,000' asl as he visited Ripon and Catterick and George to 8,400' asl with visits to the Tontine, Easingwold, Ripon and Leeming, 115 km according to OLC.  Pilots reported strong lift around 4-5,000' of 6-8 kts but this rapidly weakened with height, with most reporting 1-2 kts at 7-8,000' asl.  Pilots eventually contacting the wave after a significant period of his soaring inlcuded Darren Lodge in his LS8, who climbed to 7,500', Martyn Johnson in his DG600, 7,500', and Toby Wilson in his Standard Cirrus, 6,200' all asl. Other pilots to contact the wave and climb above 5,000' asl were Dave Latimer and Mike Fox, 8,100' in the DG500, Ian Bullous, 8,300' in his DG800, Les Rayment, 7,900' in his DG800, Andy Parish and Allan Gartland, 6,600' in the DG1000, Tim Stanley, 6,600' solo in K21 JVZ and 5,100' by Brian Wise and Mike Cudmore in K21 KLW.    All in all a good soaring day with 22 of the day's 27 flights over 30 minutes including 14 of over an hour.

Sunday 15th.  A weak cold front making slow progress south resulted in a cloudy day, with eventually bits and pieces of rain. The light to moderate WNW'ly wind led to an abandoned winch launch and a change to ATing off runway 24, with 8 being completed before lowering skies and rain led to flying coming to an end around 1320 hrs.  The conditions were certainly not condusive to soaring and only 1 flight, that by Peter Goodchild and his guest managed to last longer than 20 minutes, and that courtesy of a launch to 3,600' QFE. 

Monday 16th.  The high pressure was still in place, with resulting blue skies and a light, essentially NW'ly wind.  The day saw the start of a week''s gliding course for Alex Woodfinder, Roy Webster, Varad Hozurbazar and Roy Holden and with 6 First Flight pupils and members to fly, the launch point was busy all day, resulting in 27 launches.  ATing off runway 24 was a little turbulent at times and returning flights landed on either 20 or 24.  Initially, staying up was a challenge in spite of some tantalising indications of wave, but by early afternoon blue thermals were available, and later some transient, shallow cumulus appeared.   Bruce Grain and course member Alex Woodfinder were the first to encounter the better soaring conditions, having 47 minutes in the DG500 and Bruce with Roy Webster, later in the same glider, had the longest flight of the day 1:02. Others to enjoy the soaring period were Andrew Bedford with 58 minutes in Astir HVK and George Rowden with First Flight pupil Norma Schofield who had 39 minutes in K21 KLW, while another 3 flights managed to get to or just above 30 minutes.  The base of the short lived Cumulus was around 4,200' asl and with visiility improving over the course of the day, a pleasant days flying was enjoyed by all.  

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