Friday 2nd to Wednesday 5th April 2021.
Posted: 07/04/2021 16:46
Friday 2nd. Initially sunny skies gradually clouded in as a moderate, NNE'ly blew, operations being off runway 02. 10 ATs were flown, with 5 by private owners and the conditions resulted in 1 flight of over 30 minutes and an additional 5 flights of over an hour. Four of the latter flights were by private owners, the exception being the 1:18 by Alan Beaumont flying the DG500 solo. The other pilots to have more than an hour were Steve Thompson in his Ventus with 2:02, Derek Smith with 2:01 in his DG800, Rob Bailey in his ASG29 with 1:37 and Darren Lodge in his LS8-18 with 1:06, this being Darren's second flight of the day. Thermal lift was the norm with operating heights gradually increasing from around 3,500' asl to around 4,000' asl, but the best height of the day was recorded by Dave Latimer who climbed to 5,300' asl flying K21 KLW solo.
Saturday 3rd. Under the continued influence of high pressure, Saturday had a moderate northerly flow which brought in a low overcast off the North Sea. A weather recce flight in the Pawnee confirmed the base of the overcast at around 1100' QFE, so that was it for the day.
Sunday 4th. Sunny skies and a light SSE'ly flow opened the day, but this did not last as cloud amounts increased as did the wind strength, while the wind direction progressively veered into the W by the end of the flying day. As a consequence the launch method changed from ATing off runway 24, some early landings being onto runway 20, to winching off 24, the change happening around 1400 hrs. 18 launches via AT or self launchers and 10 via the winch described the day's activities, with 5 of the 6 self launched flights being by Dave Latimer in his newly acquired Ventus 3M, Dave posting the longest flight of the day off the last of these, with 3:33 as he contacted wave and flew Thirsk/Ripon/Richmond/Masham/Sutton, covering 96 km and climbing to 7,900' asl. Other pilots to contact the wave were Chris Teagle in his Kestrel 19, 8,000', as he flew an O/R to Pateley Bridge, 71 km, Rob Bailey in his ASG29, 6,300', Andrew McClusky in his Shark, 7,500', Paul Whitehead in his ASW24 to 7,300' and Fred Brown to the best of the day, 10, 200' in his Ventus. Most of the above pilots explored the wave system to the west of the site, although the best lift appeared to be more to the SW, between Ripon and Wetherby. In addition to Dave Latimer's 3+ hr flight, Darren Lodge in his LS8-18, Chris Teagle and Rob Bailey also topped 3 hrs as did Steve Thompson off the winch in his Ventus, while Fred and Andrew had 2:24 and 2:46 respectively. Club glider flying resulted in Malcolm Morgan having 1:36 in the Discus, while Colin Troise had 44 minutes solo in the DG500 off the last winch launch of the day having had 12 minutes in the same glider off the first AT of the day.
Monday 5th. A southwards travelling cold front crossed the site overnight, bringing some snow flurries but more importantly, leaving a legacy of a marked windchill, and a fresh and gusty NNW'ly that prevented any flying.
Tuesday 6th. The cold plunge of Arctic air continued, and although the wind had decreased to moderate to fresh, it had backed slightly to become NW'ly with gusts into the high 30 kts. In addition, the snow showers which could be seen to the east over the North Sea on Monday, developed over land Tuesday afternoon. Consequently, it was a non-flying day.
Wednesday 7th. Hopes were high that the continued moderation of the wind would result in a flying day and the early development of Cumulus and signs of wave whetted the appetite of those pilots on site. However, although the wind had moderated from Tuesday, it was still a moderate NW'ly with gusts into the mid 20 kts and a walk along runway 02 demonstrated a very variable wind strength and direction so that, by midday, those pilots who had been on site departed for home/work. Continued reductions in wind strength continued however, so that by late afternoon, flying would have been possible but by this time there was no one to fly.