Monday 5th to Thursday 8th October 2020
Posted: 09/10/2020 20:51
Monday 5th. The depression had declined and moved sufficiently away to provide some gliding weather, albeit with some showers, the wind now being a light to moderate WSW'ly, so AT operations were off runway 24 with landings on either 24 or 20. The WSW'ly provided some soft hill lift allowing 3 of the day's 11 launches to result in flights of between 30 and 44 minutes. Bruce Grain and Laurie Clarke in K21 KLW managed 44 minutes, while Steve Codd had 43 minutes with Mike Rose and 42 minutes with Kevin Shaw, in both cases in K21 JVZ.
Tuesday 6th. Some more rain overnight, light rain in the morning and heavy showers late afternoon restricted flying to 2 ATs as the light to moderate SW'ly declined to light and veered into the N. With no useable lift, Bruce Grain's flights in K21 JVZ with Robert Shaw and Chris Handslik amassed a grand total flying time of 37 minutes.
After non-flying days at Millfield on Saturday 3rd to Monday 5th, directly due to the weather and indirectly due to a waterlogged airfield, the weather on Tuesday persuaded the YGC contingent to only fly the DG1000 and Colin Troise reported thus. A better day, although the YGC contingent decided not to fly any private gliders (probably a mistake), or the 303. After the first short flight in DS2 the flight times increased and John, Bob, Marian, Polly and Jim all had satisfying long flights in DS2. Bob and Martin decided to redeem themselves after their initial short flight, and made up for that by exercising Milfield’s 505 for a couple of hours! Colin decided to have a go, solo, in Milfield’s Allianz, and found it to be a quiet and pleasant glider, with performance similar to a K21.
I have not heard that anyone found any significant wave, most were using the ridge lift along the eastern hills of College Valley.
Wednesday 7th. The site was in a moderate WSW'ly flow with broken cloud, so it was a day of winch and AT launches off runway 24, 28 of the former and 18 of the latter. Hill, wave and weak thermal provided the opportunity to soar, with only 6 of the day's launches failing to exceed 30 minutes in duration. The visitors from the Stafford GC took the opportunity to sample what was on offer, with flight times of 4:09, 3:54 and 3:16 but found the wave to be tricky to get established in, with C Jones in his Speed Astire doing best with a climb to around 5,000' asl. 3-4,000' asl was generally the altitude achieved from a winch launch, with Rob Bailey getting to 4,000' asl in the Discus, but Bob Calvert managed a climb to around 7,200' asl in the Discus off the 2nd winch launch of the day. Those taking ATs behind the Pawnee, fared better in terms of climbs, with 7 flights getting to 4,000' asl or higher. These getting to 4,000' asl were visitor Steve Codd in his ASK18, and Bruce Grain and Laurie Clarke in K21 JVZ, while Steve Thompson and Derek Smith climbed to around 5,000' asl in the DG500, this altitude also being reached by Ron Beezer and Diane Thomas in K21 KLW. Bruce Grain and Christina Griffith climbed to around 8,000' asl in K21 JVZ, but the peak altitude of the day was by Derek Taylor in his ASW22 who climbed to around 14,500' asl in his flight of 3:44. After a self launch to around 4,000', Derek lost to 3,000' before contacting the wave over Thirsk, the best place locally, where he climbed to around 8,000'. Proceding west, he found more lift west of Ripon before going on to Aysgarth and then returning to Ripon where a climb just to the east of the town took him to his peak altitude of 14,500' asl. A long and generally descending run to the area between Burn and Goole was followed by much of the same on his return to site having covered 270 km. The longest flight of the day, 4:36, was by John Ellis in his DG808, but I have no information as to where he went as his Flarm does not appear to have been working, as there is no trace on Spot the Glider. Examination of the latter indicated that most people stayed fairly local to site, but Conrad Thwaites, although not contacting the wave, flew via inconsistent hill lift to the Tontine and back in his 1:18 flight in the Discus, at one point being below Sutton hill top height.
Colin Troise's account of flying at Millfield follows. Although the wave forecast yesterday for today did appear, it was truer to today’s morning forecast and was quite variable and elusive, although at times tantalizingly visible from the airfield. Initial conditions were very blustery, and Bob and John took the first of the day’s flights on an aerotow to 4000′ and then proceeded to enjoy a mix of thermal and wave to around the same height, finishing with a high, and high-speed, approach to the landing. Paul and his Ventus achieved the same height, but from a lower altitude. Conditions continued to be sporting for the rest of the day but did calm down slightly towards the end of the afternoon. Sue and Chris separately had flights in the 1000, and John D. and Martin flew in the DG505, but mainly in ridge and thermal in the College Valley. Jim flew his ASW24 for somewhat longer than Colin’s 23 minutes solo in the 1000.
Thursday 8th. Low cloud delayed the start of flying until around 1330 hrs but thereafter the skies cleared and the launch point was busy with the last glider landing around 1815 hrs, the AT launch total off runway 24 being 17. The light N'ly in the morning backed into the W as the clouds cleared, some weak thermals under the intially low cloud base being augmented by wave to provide soaring opportunities. These were eagerly accepted by the Stafford GC visitors who had 14 launches, 10 in their own gliders and 4 in YGC gliders. Deputy CFI Bruce Grain, with 2 flights in K21 JVZ and Rob Bailey in his ASG29 made up the launch balance. The entry point to the wave appeared to be over Topcliffe and most people remained relatively local to the site with only visitors Sanford and Shelton in K21 JVZ visiting the A1 and Helmsley in their flight of 1:40, during which they climbed to around 9,100' asl, the second best climb of the day. The best climb, longest duration and most kms covered all belonged to Rob Bailey in his ASG29, the relevant numbers being 14,100' asl, 3:33 and 143 km, the distance via TPs at Foston, Ripon, Fadmoor and the Tontine. Visitors Barney Crump and Paul Whitters had the next longest flights, 3 hrs and 2:18 respectively, while a number of other pilots climbed to 5,000' asl or more. These were Bruce Grain and B Adey in K21 JVZ, 5,100', Steve Codd in his ASK18, 5,200', C Jones in his Speed Astir, 5,600', with the same altitude being achieved by Adrian Noble in his Discus.
Colin Troise's report from Millfield reads:- The problem with writing this report a day later is that I’ve forgotten what little I knew about Thursday! There was a mix of ridge lift, thermal and wave. Paul (and ?) in the 1000, and Tim in his ASW20 ventured on a declared task into Scotland (don’t tell Nicola), whilst Colin hooked some wave over Newton Tors and managed to wind up to 7200′ amsl, but stayed fairly local as the cloudscape did not indicate there was any wave outside the local area. Bob took Chris on an exploration, at low level, of the Cheviot and surrounding ridges, with some slow-speed flying in the relatively benign conditions, but still requiring a lot of concentration. Martin discovered that he quite liked the DG505, although both he and Bob agree that the DG1000 is a better-responding aircraft at slow speeds.