Thursday 30th July to Monday 3rd August 2020
Posted: 04/08/2020 12:18
Thursday 30th. A cloudy and damp start to Thursday as a light to moderate SE'ly blew, delayed the start of flying until the middle of the afternoon, with 4 flights in the Falke preceding 3 ATs off runway 20 by K21 KLW and 3 ATs by Paul Bulmer in his Libelle. Low flight times resulted from 1100' tows but John Carter and Ben Williams had 34 minutes off the only 2,000' tow of the day.
Friday 31st. Advection of hot air from the near continent via a moderate to fresh SE/SSE'ly wind, gave a maximum temperature at site of 28.7C, easily the hottest day of the year. ATs off runway 20 to various heights ranging from 1100' to 3,000' QFE led to a succession of attempts to soar the southerly ridge, with excursions as far as Ampleforth, but consistent lift was hard to find. Consequently, flight times were generally in the 15-20 minute range although Jon Marsh in his Ka6 with 28 minutes and Steve Thompson and Dave Thompson in K21 KLW with 23 minutes did manage to push up the average flight time on the day. Cross winds were a problem off runway 20, and with the wind becoming more E'ly, a short flight off runway 06 with a landing on 02 demonstrated it wasn't any better of that runway so flying was abandoned for the day. The brief spell of hot weather came to an end with an evening thunderstorm.
Saturday 1st August. A light to moderate WSW/W wind brought in a few showers but not enough to disrupt flying. Initially, the chosen launch method was ATing, but on the second launch of the day, a failed elevator trim tab cable caused the launch to be abandoned at a height sufficient for Paul Whitehead and Dave Thompson in K21 KLW to safely return to the airfield followed by Peter Goodchild in the tug. A change to winching was then made, with Martyn Johnson in his DG600 volunteering to determine if the ridge was working. His first attempt proved it wasn't, as he was back on the ground after 10 minutes. However, on his second launch he succeeded in keeping airborne, landing after 2:35, due mainly to thermal activity. Thereafter, 5 more winch launches and 2 self launches plus a Falke flight kept the log keeper busy, with all these flights exceeding 30 minutes and 6 exceeding and hour. Pilots took the opportunity to fly some local cross countries with Toby Wilson taking his Std Cirrus to the Tontine and Thirsk and Masham being the objective of the Les Rayment in his DG808. The conditions allowed 7 of the winch launches to produce flights of > an hour, with 3 pilots, Toby Wilson, Ben Dawson and Fred Brown having over 2 hours. Bob Calvert, with 2:08 in the DG303 kept the club aircraft ocuupied, while F Bradley, flying solo in K21 JVZ and Thomas Lawson, flying with Paul Whitehead in K21 KW both had > 30 minute flights.
Sunday 2nd. A few isolated showers did not disrupt a otherwise soaring day, with the gusty SW'ly wind slowly veering into the W, but remaining light to moderate. 26 ATs were flown off runway 24. Pilots had a choice of hill or thermal soaring with some of the 15 private owners to launch taking the opportunity to fly cross country, but overconvection limited the oppotunities. Ripon was a favourite TP, being visited by Toby Wilson in his Std Cirrus, Chris Booker in his LS1, Tor Tavener or Roger Burhall in their ASW20 (the information to hand not allowing a distinction to be made) and Bob Calvert in the DG303. Bob acheived the highest climb of the day, 5,600' asl, with cloud base generally rising to around 4-4,500' als. Jon May in his Ventus 2ct and Steve Thompson in his Ventus 2t bucked the above trend with Jon getting to Masham, although having to resort to his engine to get back to Sutton, and Steve flying the Pocklington/ Rufforth 100 km triangle. In all 26 ATs were flown off runway 24 with all but 5 posting flight times of > 30 minutes and 13 > an hour. The private owners were not the only ones to enjoy the day, as apart from the aforementioned Bob Calvert, late in the day, Simon Altman had just under an hour in Astir DPO while John Carter and Thomaz had just over an hour in K21 JVZ. The site also welcomed a visitor in the classic shape of a Tiger Moth.
Monday 3rd. A light to moderate WNW'ly blew all day, presenting some initial problems in deciding which runway to use, but the initial choice of 24 proved to be OK. The day's weathe followed the pattern of Sunday with initial Cumulus development leading to extensive overdevelopement, with patches of convection pushing through the overcast. This led to most pilots with cross country ambitions to abandon thoughts of declared tasks and follow the weather, alhough a few did attempt declared tasks but subsequently had to abandon them. The latter included Steve Thompson in his Ventus 2t, Paul Whitehead in his Ventus 2t and George Rowden in his LS8-18t. Steve and Paul declared a 300 km but abandoned it south of York after turning their first TP at Pickering and heading for their next at Doncaster NW. Steve had to resort to his engine to get back to Sutton but then decided to try for Staindrop only to have to abandon that idea and resort of this engine again. George set himself a more modest task, 104 km around NRT, HAN and SOF with the start/finish at SU3. It all went well until SOF which was in a large dead area and an engine burn was required to reconnect with the convection. Those pilots following the weather had no such problems, with some strong climbs, cloudbase varying between 4,500 and 5,500' asl. However, Derek Smith in his DG808 did have a battery problem that caused him to land after a 120 km tour around Foston, Fridaythorpe and Langtoft. Having sorted his battery problem out Derek than took off again and added 152 km, this time turning the Tontine and Guisborough. Andrew Cluskey in his Shark flew 176 km while visiting Richmond, Kirbymoorside and then east to near Captain Cook's monument, with Martyn Johnson adding 117 km to his annual cross country total flying around some of the local TPs. Nick Gaunt, on the other hand decided to visit racecources, and flew to Catterick, Wetherby, Thirsk and York. Ron Beezer in his Nimbus 2, visited Helmsley, Ripon and Northallerton while Rob Bailey, taking off mid afternoon in his ASG29, flew 124 km, mainly over the North Yorks Moors. Colin Troise had started the day off well with 1:17 solo in the DG500 and later had 1:20 in the same glider, while Sue Aherne had 1:18 in the DG303. Andrew Bedford appeared to have lost out when he landed Astir DPO after 12 minutes just after midday, but made up for it later in the day as he flew the same glider for 2:25. Among all this solo flying activity, there were a few dual flights, 5 in all, with M Millard accounting for 4 of them, with Thomas Lawson, flying with John Carter in K21 JVZ having the longest dual flight of the day, 50 minutes. The day also had Alan Rands land his Cirrus after taking off from Pocklington, Alan taking off later to return to his home base.