Thursday 19th December to Tuesday 31st December 2109
Posted: 31/12/2019 18:17
Thursday 19th. An Atlantic front brought 18.6 mm of rain to the site mainly overnight and into the morning and even though the rain stopped, the associated low cloud never disappeared to allow flying to take place.
Friday 20th. Another wet and non-flyable day, this time the rain, 7.6 mm of it, commencing from around 1130 hrs and continuing for the rest of the day as the initially ESE'ly wind veered into the WSW while remaining light.
Saturday 21st. A light ESE'ly brought in a low overcast with initially a few light showers and even though the afternoon was dry the persistent low cloud precluded any flying..
Sunday 22nd. A very variable and light wind swung between SSE and W'ly as another dull, cloudy and wet day kept the hangar doors shut.
Monday 23rd. A moderate WSW'ly wind and broken cloud provided a welcome flying day, with 13 winch launches off runway 24. These inlcuded 2 in excess of an hour and a further 3 in excess of 30 minutes. Dave Campbell flying Astir DPO led the way with 1:15 off the 2nd flight of the 14 on the day, this including 1 by John Taylers Super Cub, while the other > 1 hour flight was by Bill Payton and Dave McKinney who had 1:46 in the DG1000. Fred Brown and Dave Thompson had 55 minutes in K21 JVZ, David Watson had 40 minutes solo in K21 KLW, while Fred and Dave had a later flight of 35 minutes in the DG1000. Soaring was confined to the hill with the peak height of around 1600' QFE suggesting some weak wave assistance. During a flight in K21 JVZ, the rear cockpit pilot's sunglasses, initially perched on top of his head, were dislodged and somehow disappeard into the bowels of the glider, resulting in it being taken off line after landing until the glasses could be discovered and retrieved.
Tuesday 24th. The weather reverted to type with another dull and wet day preventing any flying.
Wednesday 25th. Christmas Day is a non-flying day at Sutton under the terms of the original purchase of the land from the Church Commisioners. Other than that the weather was eminently flyable, as blue skies and a light, predominately S'ly wind persisted all day.
Thursday 26th. A moderate E'ly slowly backed in the ENE and declined to light to moderate as another dull, cloudy and damp wet day kept the gliders in the hangars.
Friday 27th. The dull, cloudy and damp conditions persisted with the site being in cloud for most of the day, so again there was no flying.
Saturday 28th. A light to moderate SSE'ly that slowly backed into the SE was accompanied by low cloud and some light rain, the latter ceasing by mid morning. The skies then slowly brightened, but never suficiently to allow flying to commence.
Sunday 29th. Somewhat of a repeat of Saturday, except that the light to moderate wind slowly veered from SE to SSE, with Sunday seeing initially cloudy skies being slowly replaced by brighter conditions from mid afternoon, too late for flying to commence.
Monday 30th. Clear blue skies and a light SSE'ly wind saw flying get underway around 1000 hours and continue until the last landing around 1515 hours, with 18 ATs being flown off runway 24. Initially landings were on runway 20, but from early afternoon a weak cold front approaching from the north brought increasing cloud, a change in wind direction/strength to WSW'ly/moderate, hill lift and some wave. The latter did not seem to extend to much above 5,500-6,000' asl but did allow Colin Troise and Duncan Pask in the DG1000 to have 1:28 and Steve Thompson in Astir DPO to have just over an hour. Steve climbed to his peak altitude of around 5,000' asl from off the hill, while Colin and Duncan took an 5,000' AT and remained at that height for a significant part of their flight. Laurie Clarke, an experienced glider pilot but a new member of the YGC, took an morning launch solo in K21 JVZ and followed that with an early afternoon launch in the Discus. Climbing in wave above cloud, Laurie suffered a battery failure that robbed him of his electronic instrumentation, inlcuding his GPS and, on descending below cloud, was unable to re-locate the site and landed out near Brandsby, NE of Easingwold, from where he was successfully retrieved. Others to utilise the wave were Fred Brown and Chris Ogden who, flying K21 KLW, climbed 1,500' from their release height of 1100' QFE and recorded the 3rd longest flight of the day, 55 minutes. Paul and Polly Whitehead, flying K21 JVZ, took the last flight of the day as the, by now, solid overcast lowered.
Tuesday 31st. A sunny day with a light ENE'ly that gradually veered into the ESE and became light to moderate would have provided a gentle end to the flying year. However, the lack of a Full Cat Instructor meant there was no flying except on the Simulator where Jerry HN spent a happy hour.