Wednesday 24th to Tuesday 30th June 2020
Posted: 30/06/2020 21:11
Wednesday 24th. A light to moderate SSE'ly brought a hazy, hot blue day with isolated Cumulus, the temperature peaking at 26.2C. The conditions tempted 5 private owners to rig and fly, but only two ventured far from the site. Rob Bailey visited Barnard Castle and Grassington in his ASG29t, his flight of 3:20 also containing the best climb of the day, to 5,300' asl. While Rob went west, the other cross country pilot, Andrew Cluskey went east, visiting Rosedale in his Shark, his flight time being 1:26. The only other pilot to have more than an hour of flight was John Marsh, who had 1:09 in his DG303. Duncan Pask had 51 minutes in his LS10 , with Bruce Grain and John Dore having 49 minutes in K21 JVZ. Late in the day, Martyn Joyce had 41 minutes in K21 KLW, climbing to 4,500' asl in the process, with the day's launch total off runway 20 being 28.
Thursday 25th. Another hot and blue day, with an initially light E'ly becoming moderate in strength, resulting in a change from runway 20 to runway 06 during the day. A strong inversion meant most of the early flights were circuits, but in the early afternoon, a brief spell of convection saw John Carter and Mike Smith have 50 minutes in K21 KLW and Chris Collingham and Nigel Burke have 30 minutes in K21 JVZ, the only flights to equal or exceed 30 minutes. John and Mike climbed to just over 5,000' asl with Chris and Nigel getting to 3,500' asl.
Friday 26th. A light S'ly meant operations off runway 20 on another hot day, but this time with a layer of persistent cloud, as the anticyclone that had brought the hot spell drifted off to the east allowing low pressure to approach the UK from the W. The day's 13 ATs, all in K21 JVZ, saw Andy Tyas and Sue Aherne have some check flights before themselves flying solo, but with no significant lift to speak of, flight times were low, with Andy Tyas' 15 minutes solo being the best of the day. The transision from high pressure to low pressure was marked by some evening thunderstorms that missed the site.
Saturday 27th. Saturday brought a marked drop in temperature, cloudy skies and a moderate ESE'ly wind that veered into the S as a depression formed over the north of Scotland. This produced bands of thundery showers, these affecting the site from around 1200 hrs and continuing into the evening, with a rainfall total of 35 mm and some gusty winds. Accordingly there was no flying.
Sunday 28th. Another 9.4 mm of rain fell overnight, while the day was characterised by a fresh and gusty SW'ly, peak gusts being around 40 kts. The continuous cloud cover produced bits and pieces of rain throughout the day contributing to a second non-flying day in a row.
Monday 29th. The depression remained anchored over the north of Scotland maintaining the cloudy skies, moderate to fresh SW'ly winds that gusted into the high 20 kts and occasional rain, so it was again a non-flying day.
Tuesday 30th. The depression had started to drift off eastwards to Scandinavia and fill, the effect on the site's weather being a light WSW/W'ly that increased to light to moderate over the course of the day. The skies were predominately cloudy, but did break up a little to allow some brief glimpses of sunshine and some convection, this augmenting some relatively smooth hill lift. All the day's 17 launches were via the winch, although initially, the hill was not working, so that David Campbell's 3 launches in K21 JVZ added a miserly 7 minutes to his log book, reminiscent of the good old days of A, B and C certificates. Conditions improved from then on, with the hill starting to work so 500' QFE could be maintained and thermal activity commencing. These improved conditions allowed Steve Thompson to fly his Discus for over 4 hours, flying as far north as the Tontine and indulging in a bit of cloud flying to climb to around 3,100' asl. cloud base being around 2,500' asl. Steve's flight was by far the longest of the day, but 2 other pilots had over an hour, Bob Calvert having 1:13 flying K21 JVZ solo and George Rowden having 1:09 solo in the DG500, his second flight of the day, the first having to be much shorter to ensure that he could get his sandwiches before Liz shut the kitchen and went home. Bob's flight followed some check flights with Bruce Grain and signalled his return to solo flying after a significant absence, so welcome back Bob. The aforementioned David Campbell was determined to spend more time in the air and came within a knat's wisker of an hour with 56 minutes solo in K21 KLW, the same time being recorded by Paul and Polly Whitehead flying the same glider earlier in the afternoon. By this time, the combination of hill and thermal lift meant heights of 1,000' QFE up to cloudbase at 1,600' QFE could be readily maintained over the whole of ridge between the site and Paradise Farm.