Friday 16th to Thursday 22nd October 2020
Posted: 22/10/2020 21:31
Friday 16th. Sunny intervals prevailed on another day of light to moderate NNE'lies as High Pressure continued to prevail. Flying got under way mid-morning off runway 02 and continued until 1630 hrs, by which time 27 ATs had been flown. Lift was hard to come by, but mid-afternoon, Army pilot Darlow, flying their LS10, found some weak thermals that enabled him to post the longest flight of the day at 1:20, during which time he visited Thirsk, Topcliffe, Oswaldkirk and Paradise Farm. The isolated nature of the lift can be gauged by the fact that the next longest flight was 25 minutes by another Army pilot, Mr Marwama, flying their K21 solo off a 3,000' tow with only another 7 flights exceeding 20 minutes.
Saturday 17th. The synoptic situation had not changed much overnight, with the wind a light to moderate NE'ly. However, it was a much cloudier day, with the cloud low enough to prevent glider flying although not low enough to prevent the new Eurofox, HETY and John Tayler's Super Cub to take to the air.
Sunday 18th. The low cloud had gone but a medium level overcast remained as the light NW'ly slowly backed into the SSW and decreased to calm. 9 ATs were flown off runway 24 with landings on 20, but in the absence of any lift flight times were in the range 15-23 minutes. The quiet conditions did not tempt any of the Army pilots to fly but provided ideal conditions for the day's 3 First Flight pupils who had excellent visibility to make their gliding experience that more memorable.
Monday 19th. The high pressure had started to decline, with low pressure approaching from the west, this change leading to a steadily increasing SE'ly flow and cloudy skies with high cover. Flying did not get underway until around 1400 hrs and 7 ATs were flown off runway 20 before operations ceased around 1530 hrs. Flight times were generally 15- 30 minutes, but Army pilots Davidson and Bailey found sufficient lift while flying the Army K21 to extend their flight time to 1:16.
Tuesday 20th. A warm front's rain and low cloud prevented any flying until early afternoon, but the departing front's legacy was a warm, moderate to fresh SSE'ly on a day of sunny intervals, providing bits and pieces of hill lift on the southerly facing slope of the main bowl and the White Horse ridge. I haven't had access to the log sheet for the day, but Army pilots flying their Duo Discus posted the longest flight of the day, 1:34, albeit of a 6,000' tow, with other Army pilots flying their Duo Discus and LS8-18 contributing 3 of the 4 flights to record times of >30 and < 59 minutes.
Wednesday 21st. Storm Barbara, tracking eastwards along the English Channel, threw its cloud and rain sufficiently far northwards to deliver 7.4 mm of rain over the day and low cloud, but not the high winds experienced by other parts of the UK. However, the rain and low cloud was sufficient to prevent any flying.
Thursda 22nd. Another delayed start to the day, as a cold front crossed the country, its passage leaving the site in a moderate to fresh at times SW'ly that slowly veered into the W. The weather conditions resulted in a mixture of winch and AT launches, 18 of the former and 14 of the latter. The hill was working consistently, with a typical operating height of 1200' QFE, but in spite of much exploration and a plethora of high tows, including one to 6,000' QFE and several to 4,000' QFE, nobody found any significant wave. Nevertheless, 24 of the day's flights exceeded 30 minutes, with 12 of these exceeding an hour, with Army pilots posting 4 of the 6 longest, these being 2:17, 2:07, 1:30 and 1;15.. The other two longest flights were by Bill Payton and Dave McKinney in the DG1000, 2:06 and Bob Calvert in the DG303, 1:59. Bob, having climbed to 2,500' asl off his winch launch in the DG303, later had another go at wave hunting in the Discus and climbed to the same height in his flight of 59 minutes. A low sun later in the day provided some glorious sky and landscapes to view from the air, but also a tricky into sun landing on runway 24, but a low western cloud bank meant this problem was short lived as the Sun dipped lower.