Wednesday 2nd to Friday 4th September 2020
Posted: 06/09/2020 17:29
Wednesday 2nd. A sunny start to the day was followed by increasing cloudiness as a warm front approached from the SW, the mainly S'ly wind increasing from light to moderate to moderate. 15 ATs resulted off runway 20, with 5 private owner launches and 3 First flight pupils among those flying. Some convection and hill lift on the southern ridge generated 9 flights of over 30 minutes and one of over an hour, with Slingsby week visitor Andrew Jarvis having 2:05 in his Oly 463, proving there's life in the old dog yet (with reference to the glider of course). The 3 first flight pupils averaged 34 minutes in air, while Les Rayment/Ray Simpson had 51 minutes in the DG500 and Bruce Grain/Tony Wiseman had 50 minutes in K21 KLW. Sue Aherne had the only solo flight in a club glider, having 20 minutes in the DG303 while the Falke contributed a single sortie as it was flown around the Pocklington/Rufforth local 100km triangle.
Thursday 3rd. A moderate to moderate to fresh W'ly meant a day of hill soaring and wave, with 20 of the day's 29 launches climbing in the wave to at least 4,000' asl and 14 climbing to 7,000' asl or more. Those climbing to over 10,000' asl inlcuded the following, with top of the tree, so to speak, being Arthur Docherty in his ASW20 with around 17,100' asl. He was followed by Jesper Mjels in his DG400 (15,700'), the same altitude as Fred Brown in his Ventus, Jim McLean in his ASW24 (12,500'), Martyn Johnson in his DG600 (11,100'), Bruce Grain and John Dore in the DG1000 (10,900'), Bob Calvert in the DG303 (10,500'), Ron Beezer in his Nimbus 2 (10,600') and Nick Gaunt in his LS7 (10,000'). A Notamed parachute excercise at nearby RAF Topcliffe, restricted cross country exploits but Nick Gaunt did 145 km to the south and Tony Drury provided this view of the site through a wave slot.
The wave lasted all day and allowed Jim McLean in his ASW24 to land, and then later take off again to explore the wave, getting to 8,600' asl. Martyn Johnson also landed after 3:17 and handed over his DG600 to syndicate partner Colin Troise who climbed to 9,500' asl in his flight of 2:18. Pilots could opt for either a winch or AT with those choosing the winch generating 5 flights of between 30 and 59 minutes and 10 greater than an hour. Those choosing ATs produced 4 flights of between 30 and 59 minutes and 8 greater than an hour on a great wave soaring day at Sutton.
Friday 4th. The wind had become a little more southerley, varying between the SSW and WSW but was still moderate or moderate to fresh, so operations were again off runway 24 into a sky that again promised wave. The first two flights were ATs behind Pawnee Tango Mike for first flight pupils, but thereafter, the launches were by winch, with two self launches by Les Rayment and Derek Smith in their DG808. Of the 19 winch launches, 9 climbed in wave to at least 4,000'asl with 5 climbing above 8,000' asl, Paul Whitehead in his Ventus climbing to 10,700' while also doing a 198 km cross country with TPs at Barnard Castle and Garforth, although the continuation of the parachuting exercise at RAF Topcliffe put others off cross country flights. Getting into the wave was a little more difficult that on the previous day, Paul for example spending 2 hours on the ridge before contacting the wave and while Paul reported moderate climb rates, George Rowden in his LS8-18 had a spell of 8-10 kts climb rate while passing 6,000' on his way to a peak altitude of 12,000', at which point the climb was abandoned due to no O2 availability. 3 other pilots climbed to above 8,000' asl, these being Bob Calvert, (9,200') in the Discus and Bruce Grain/Keith Davey (8,200') in K21 KLW, while Tony Dury took his DG303 up to over 13,000' to claim his Gold Height, so congratualtions to him. Syndicate partners Les Rayment and Derek Smith both had climbs in their DG808, with Les getting to 5,400' and Derek getting to 10,900' after earlier in the day climbing to 5,800' with C Atkins in the DG1000. Bruce Grain's flight with First Flight pupil A Hill in the DG500 was the only one to fail to exceed 30 minutes, with 10 of the day's 21 launches exceeding an hour, Paul Whitehead's 5 hours being the longest on another good wave day at Sutton.