Monday 17th to Thursday 20th May 2021
Posted: 20/05/2021 21:36
Monday 17th. Low cloud and frequent showers meant it was a non=flying day.
Tuesday 18th. Rain and low cloud delayed the start of flying until just before 1100 hrs but, thereafter, a rapidly rising cloud base and sunny intervals allowed 33 ATs off runway 24, landings being predominately on runway 20 as a light, mainly NW'ly blew. Flying was a combination of 15 introductory flights for students from Middlesbrough College sponsored by the Air League and members, a smooth launch point operation meaning that the former were all flown by early afternoon. A key member of the launch point team was Gren Dore who kept an impeccable log, an example to all log keepers. Although the sky looked eminently soarable by early afternoon, lift was hard to come by, with only 3 flights of more than an hour and 9 between an hour and 30 minutes. Many pilots reported good looking clouds that gave no lift but conditions slowly improved so that towards the end of the flying day, flight times and peak altitudes were maximized. Rob Bottomley accounted for 2 of the flights of >1hr, with 1:15 in the morning and 1:21 in the afternoon. Thomaz Rusin, flying the Astir was the other pilot to exceed an hour with 1:24. The increasing cloud base allowed pilots soaring in the late afternoon to climb to or above 4,000' asl, this being achieved by Jamie Quartermaine/John Dore in the DG500, Toby Wilson in the DG303, Chris Knapp in the Astir, Ron Bottomley in the Discus, Jamie Quartermaine and Tomer Altman in K21 KLW and John Carter and Conrad Thwaites in KLW, the latter having the best climb to 4,700' asl. John and Conrad previously had test flown the rigged DG1000, recently returned to site after an extended ARC. The uncertain soaring conditions only persuaded 2 private owners to rig, Chris Handzlilk having 2 flights in his DG300 and Paul Bulmer one in his Libelle. All soaring was local with the farthest sorties to Easingwold and the East Coast Main line, the Falke having an O/R to Carlton Bank.
Wednesday 19th. A forecast of light, mainly NW'ly winds and heavy showers and thunderstorms mainly on a trough line lying from NE England to the SE was realized, but fortunately the storms, although plainly visible from site, were sufficiently distant to not affect flying. Consequently, 40 ATs were flown off runway 24, again a combination of introductory flying for students from Middlesbrough College, 19 in all, and members. An encouraging soaring forecast did, however, tempt private owners to rig and fly, with 12 subsequent flights. The proximity of the storms meant that cross country flights were relatively local, with Toby Wislon in his Standard Cirrus covering 86 km with TPs at Carlton Bank, Thirsk and Kirbymoorside. The Newbery's, Albert and Martin, had the longest flight of the day, 2:26, as they visited Pickering, Sutton on Forest and skirted Malton, while Ron Beezer went to the Tontine and Carlton Bank in his Nimbus 2. Derek Taylor flying the Discus visited Helmsley, Thirsk and Over Silton. 14 of the day's flights exceeded 30 minutes with 12 > 1 hour, mostly by private owners, but Rob Bottomley and Derek Taylor flying the Discus, Thomasz Rusin in the Astir and Andrew Bedford in the DG303 ensured that those flying club gliders were well represented. As with Tuesday, the rising cloud base resulted in some good climbs during the afternoon, with Thomaz Rusin getting to 5,200', Andrew Bedford to 5,300' and Chris Handzlilk to 5,400' asl, the best of the day. The Newbery's climb to 5,100' asl from their over lunch time flight is also well worth a mention.
Thursday 20th. With an active depression set to bring rain and strong winds to the UK and another group of students from Middlesbrough College sponsored by the Air League to fly, operations off runway 20 got underway around 0940 hrs. 10 ATs were flown before the lowering cloud base led to the termination of flying around 1100 hrs, rain setting in around midday as the SE'ly wind increased from moderate to moderate to fresh, with eventually gusts of around 30 kts being recorded at nearby RAF Topcliffe.