Wednesday 9th to Thursday 17th December 2020
Posted: 17/12/2020 20:39
Wednesday 9th. A moderate to moderate to fresh SE blew all day and although it was dry, the low overcast meant it was a no flying day.
Thursday 10th. A repeat of Wednesday in terms of weather and flying activity, ie a lot of in the case of the former and none in the case of the latter.
Friday 11th. The wind had backed into the ESE and declined to become light, but the low overcast had lowered even more, making for a very murky day with drizzle in the afternoon. If it was possible, an even more so non flying day.
Saturday 12th. The light wind was now from the NW and although the murky conditions left over from Friday gradually departed to leave good visibility, light rain on and off all day decreeded another non-flying day.
Sunday 13th. A near-by depression led to a moderate to fresh to a fresh and gusty SSE'ly blowing, with 13.2 mm of rain falling during the afternoon into the early evening, the conditions ensuring that the run of non=flying days increased to 11,
Monday 14th. Monday did at least bring a day of sunny intervals and the odd shower, but the wind, a moderate to fresh and gusty S'ly meant the day was again a non-flying one.
Tuesday 15th. At last a flying day, with sunny skies and a light SE'ly that slowly veered into the SSE as it increased to moderate. The sunny skies were not however, universalm as thick orographic cloud which capped the site meant there was no flying during the morning. Flying got under way around 1300 hrs with CFI John Carter and Deputy CFI Bruce Grain taking the first flight in K21 KLW to assess the weather. Declaring it flyable, 8 additional ATs were then flown off runway 20, but a lack of any significant lift meant that only 2 flights managed to exceed 30 minutes. These were by Steve Thompson and Chris Handzlik in the DG500 and Peter Whitehead in his Olympia 2, both flights lasting 32 minutes. The rest of the day's flights were of the 15-20 minute variety but Les Rayment and Nigel Burke had the shortest flight of the day, 8 minutes in the DG1000, their defence being that they only took a 1200' tow behind Eurofox OF. Tugging duties were shared between OF and the newest addition to the tug fleet, the 120 HP Eurofox TY, following the completion of its paperwork.
Wednesday 16th. A small and active depression brought moderate to fresh SE winds to the site, these slowly decreasing to light to moderate and veering to become S'ly over the course of the day. However, the wind was not the major feature of the day, this accolade, if accolade is the right term, was the rain, as 52.6 mm fell during daylight hours so a non-flying day resulted.
Thursday 17th. Wednesday's depression had departed to the NE and a brief ridge of high pressure brought a light to moderate S'ly with upper winds being more SW'ly. Some early orographic cloud forming on the windward escarpments delayed the start of flying until around 1100 hrs and early flights reported bits and pieces of wave and cloud base at 1700' QFE. Later flights made use of hill and wave lift, the main region of hill lift being the section of the main bowl between the ascent of the A170 and Gormire Lake, although portions of the S'ly ridge ie the White Horse and the section above Oldstead also provided soarable while one of the flights in K21 KLW went as far east as Ampleforth. Wave lift was generally moderate in strength and altitude, the best climb being by John Carter and Dave McKinney, who climbed to 6,000' asl during their flight of 1:07, proceding as far north as Over Silton, closing wave gaps being a feature of their and others flights. These included Bill Payton who climbed to 4,400' asl in the Astir and Jim McLean to 4,200' asl solo in the DG1000. Bill's flight of 1:38 was the longest of the day, he also having a 53 minute flight in the same glider earlier, while Bob Calvert was also a 2 flight pilot having 1:30 and 1:00 flights in the Discus, mainly in hill lift. 14 of the day's 21 ATs off runway 20 had more than 30 minutes flight time on a welcome return to a soaring day at Sutton.