Saturday 19th to Monday 28th December 2020
Posted: 28/12/2020 14:57
Saturday 19th. A moderate to fresh and gusty S'ly was accompanied by showers to there was no flying.
Sunday 20th. A light to moderate SW'ly that slowly backed into the S saw operations off runway 20 and some hill soaring, There was an one foray up the main ridge to Boltby by K21 KLW, with Bagby and the East Coast Main Line also visited by other pilots, but most of the soaring was on the SW/S facing portion of the main bowl and the S'ly ridge as far east as Wass. The day's 19 ATs behind the Pawnee resulted in 11 flights exceeding 30 minutes, although only one exceeded an hour, Bill Payton having 1:04 in the DG303. Dave Cockburn and Bob Calvert both flying the Discus had 58 and 52 minutes respectively, with Bruce Grain and Chris Handzlik having the longest 2 seater flight, 50 minutes in the DG1000. The opportunity was also taken to fly the Falke, with 3 flights undertaken.
Monday 21st. Persistent rain and low cloud as a moderate ESE'ly blew, this veering into the S and declining to light later, meant it was a non-flying day.
Tuesday 22nd. A light WSW'ly accompanied by hazy sunshine led to a flying day with operations off runway 24, although most landings were on 20. With little chance of any lift, most flights were in the 15-25 minute band depending on tow height, but Tony Drury solo in K21 KLW with 36 minutes and Chris Thirkell solo in the DG500 with 30 minutes did manage to generate some extended flying. Investigation of post operation tracks on Spot the Glider revealed some exploratory beats along portions of the main bowl, while one of the day's flights in the DG500 ventured as far west as Dalton with the DG303 getting to overhead Thirsk. The last two flights of the day saw the T21 get into the air, first with Tor Tavener and Duncan Pask and then with Tor and Ian McFarlane. The Falke added to the activity with 4 flights.
Wednesday 23rd. A dull and wet day with a cold, moderate to fresh NE'ly blowing, meant it was a good day to stay at home.
Thursday 24th. Another day of low cloud accopanied by bits and pieces of rain brought in on a moderate NNW'ly kept the hangar doors firmly closed.
Friday 25th. Light and variable winds with hazy sunshine would normally have meant flying, but Christmas Day is the only day of the year when flying is not allowed.
Saturday 26th. A light to moderate W'ly that slowly increased to fresh and backed into the SW as named storm Bella approached, also brought in copious amounts of low cloud that prevented any flying.
Sunday 27th. Storm Bella had slipped south off the western side of the UK and while there had been heavy overnight rain, wind speeds had been less than forecast. The storm's legacy was a moderate to fresh W'ly, this slowly declining in strength and backing into the S, conditions that allowed flying to take place. 15 winch launches were flown off runway 24 and while two seater flights were limited to around 40 minutes, the day saw 13 flights in excess of 30 minutes with 4 greater than an hour. All the > 1 hour flights were by solo pilots, with Chris Booker having 1:51 in the Astir, Tony Drury having 1:17 in the DG303, Simon Altman having 1:14 in the Astir and an unknown pilot (I couldn't decipher his name or number off the log sheet) having 1:02 in the Discus. The longest of the two seater flights was by Ian McFarlane and Tony Kirby, 54 minutes in the DG500. The conditions allowed the main ridge to be flown to Boltby, with one of the K21 flights getting to the Cowesby bowl, while some wave was encountered by John Carter in the DG303, a climb to around 3100' asl having to be abandoned due to increasing cloud.
Monday 28th. A light NNW'ly failed to fully dispel Stratus that kept blanketting the airfield from time to time, so the decision was taken late morning to abandon any hope of flying for the day.