Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th March 2020
Posted: 06/03/2020 20:54
Tuesday 3rd. A light to moderate SSE'ly was accompanied by a low overcast, a flight in the Falke finding cloud base to be 400' QFE. The cloud base slowly rose as brighter weather spread in from the west allowing 2 launches off runway 24, the wind now being a light WSW'ly. Ian McFarlane nd Nigel Burke had 30 minutes in K21 KLW before Ben Dawson completed the day's flying with 32 solo minutes in the same glider.
Wednesday 4th. Light wind conditions with a blue and sunny sky saw AT'ing commence off runway 24, but the advent of a light to moderate SE'ly soon had operations switch to runway 20. Here they remained for the rest of the day's 13 launches, with the wind slowly backing into the ESE. Cumulus developement provided some early March soaring conditions, but these were only sufficient to generate a single flight of over an hour and 2 addtional flights of over 30 minutes. The longest flight, by Rob Bailey in the Discus, 2:24, had him visit Helmsley and Hawnby. Fred Brown and Ann Crick in K21 KLW and Alan Beaumont in Astir DPO were the > 30 minute pilots, Fred and Ann having 37 minutes and Alan 35 minutes. Pilots reported cloud base to eventually rise to around almost 5,000' asl. The only First Flight pupil of the day was taken aloft by Polly Whitehead while the Falke was busy with 4 flights..
Thursday 5th. Sunny skies again prevailed as a light to moderate NE'ly blew, necessitating operations off runway 02 behind the Eurofox, 14 ATs being the total for the day. Like Wednesday, the blue skies were soon dotted with Cumulus, but the soaring conditions were somewhat better, as although there was only a single flight of > an hour, there were 8 additional flights of > 30 minutes. The longest flight, of over 2 hours, saw Rob Bailey visit Churchhouses, Foston, Thirsk and Carlton, a task distance of 127.8 km, with convection confined to the Moors and sea air incursions along both the Vale of Pickering and Tees Valley. Rob's attempt to extend the flight north of Sutton met only sink and a land out at Felixkirk. Meanwhile, back at site, Ian McFarlane took one of the day's two First Flight pupils for 52 minutes in the DG1000, while Steve Ogden, flying the DG303 and John Carter flying first with Bruce Carter and then with Paul Frost in K21 KLW all had 43 minutes.
Friday 6th. Very light winds prevailed, mainly from a W'ly/SW'ly direction, as sunny skies were again a backdrop to a rather chilly morning. Given the light winds the decision was taken to operate off runway 20 and early flights found smooth conditions and excellent visibilty, this being appreciated by the 1st of the day's 5 First Flight pupils. Cumulus development from mid morning was confined to the east of the site where it remained all day, with some soaring closer to home over the South facing slopes around the White Horse. The broken and weak lift in this area was used by John Marsh and David Westgate to eke out 33 minutes in the DG1000. Later the same source was used by George Rowden in the DG1000 to give one of the day's First Flight pupils 31 minutes of flight time, as did John Carter and David Eccles who had 30 minutes in K21 KLW. Bill Payton, flying Astir HVK, AT'd out to the clouds and found them to be in two bands, roughly orientated NW/SE. With a maximum cloud base of around 5,000' asl, a return against the head wind to site was deemed to be possible from the first band but not the one further east, so Bill spent his 1:57 flight under the first band of clouds around Kirbmoorside before returning to site. Bill reported that the clouds provided generally weak but consistent lift that favoured gentle turns, with attempts to agressivley centre any surges only leading to reduced climb rates. By the time the last flight landed at 1650 hrs, 19 launches had been flown, while additional powered aircraft movements included a visitor and John Tayler in his Piper Super Cub.