Sunday 26th to Wednesday 29th July 2020.
Posted: 30/07/2020 12:20
Sunday 26th. Sunday brought a moderate W'ly that slowly backed into the WSW, the predominately cloudy skies not proving to be a problem for a day of hill soaring and wave, the full participation in the latter being particularly the case for those with an engine. 34 take offs from runway 24 was the day's total, with apart from 4 self launches, all but one of the remainder were via the winch. 18 of the day's flights exceeded an hour with a further 9 exceeding 30 minutes, and most flights experienced the wave, although maximum altitudes were generally 3-3,500' asl. 6 flights climbed to 4,000' asl or above, Darren Lodge in his LS8-18 getting to 4,000', Fred Brown to 4,400' in his Ventue ct off the day's only AT, Ian Bullous to 5,300' in his DG800 and Bill Payton to 4,000' solo in his DG1000t. Bill and a number of other pilots went searching for the wave, Bill between the Tontine and Easingwold, while Martyn Johnson went west to the A1 south of Leeming. However, the transition from the low level wave to the upper levels was only achieved with the help of an engine, as demonstrated by Jesper Mjels who in two separate flights in his DG400, climbed to 15,300' asl on his first flight and 18,800' asl on his second. Towards the end of the flying day, Dave and Simona Latimer took the DG500 up to 3.600' asl, the same height being achieved by Mike Collins in the Discus, while Brian Wise went slightly higher as he took the DG303 to 3,800' asl.
Monday 27th. A moderate/moderate to fresh S'ly was accompanied by low cloud and rain, the latter lasting from 0500 to 1700 hrs and depositing 19.8 mm and preventing any flying. Late in the afternoon, following the passage of the front the wind veered into the W.
Tuesday 28th. The moderate/moderate to fresh W'ly continued to blow, providing a winch/hill soaring day with additional thermal activity and wave. Flying stopped in the early afternoon due to increased gustiness but by this time 9 flights had launched off runway 24, one a self launch. As with the previous Sunday, an engine was an asset in making the most of the wave, Jesper Mjels in his DG400 climbing to 8,400 in his flight of just over 6 hours during which he visited Masham, Ripon, Northallerton, the Tontine and Boroughbridge. 3 other flights reached 4,000' asl or above, with Colin Troise flying the DG500 and Bob Beck solo in K21 JVZ both getting to 4,000, Bob's flying time being only 23 minutes, while Martyn Johnson in his DG600 climbed to 5,000' asl. The ridge was explored by Nick Gaunt in the DG303 as far as the Tontine and with 3 of the day's flights exceeding and hour and a further 4 having more than 30 minutes a good time was had by all.
Wednesday 29th. The W'ly wind had declined to light to moderate /moderate and a good thermal forecast resulted in a busy trailer park. However, extensive early cloud put a hold on many a cross country plan, the hold being extended as a tug problem meant a change to winching. Two winch launches were flown before the problem with the tug was resolved and from around 1230 hrs the first of a further 22 launches were flown with Dave Campbell and Mark Millard showing what was to follow with a 1:14 flight in which they climbed to 4,400' asl. The winch launch pilots, Rob Bailey in his ASG29 and Albert Newbery/Bill Payton in their DG1000t both managed to get away in thermal before transitioning into wave, Rob climbing to 6,700' asl and Albert and Bill to 8,200'. However, while Rob remained relatively local, Albert and Bill flew west to Kirkby Stephen, the Ribblehead viaduct, Pateley Bridge and Ripon, returning after a flight of 4:43. This set the scene for the whole day, with all but two of the day's flights exceeding 30 minutes and 18 exceeding an hour. Only three pilots stuck with their thermal based cross country tasks, with Peter Goodchild completing his 198 km around Boroughbridge, Beverley and Pontefract in his Pik 20, and Steve Thompson not quite completing his Doncaster NW, Northallerton, Rufforth task due to wave interference, abandoning it after covering 173 km. Les Rayment flew his DG808 around Malton and Beverley, 132 km. All experienced a combination of very strong and weak, broken thermals due to the wave. The majority of pilos opted to enjoy the wave, the amount of cloud cover slowly decreasing as high pressure intensified, but all remarked that the wave was not classic, it being characterised by large areas of weak lift, with random areas of 4-6 kts seemingly unconnected with cloud. Fred Brown flying his Ventus ct took it to 11,000' asl with a number of other pilots finding that between 7,500 and 9,000' asl was the highest they could climb. These inlcuded Jesper Mjels in his DG400, 8,800', George Rowden in his LS8-18, 8,600', Ron Beezer in his Nimbus 2, 8,400', the aforementioned Albert and Bill with 8,200', Bob Calvert in the DG303, 8,100' and Steve Hunt in his ASG29, 7,500' all asl. TPs to the west of the site were popular with those flying the wave, Hawes, Ripon and Masham being the most visited on a very enjoyable flying day at Sutton.