Thursday 24th to Sunday 27th February
Posted: 27/02/2022 20:15
Thursday 24th. A moderate to fresh W'ly brought in a number of wintry showers, the gusty nature of the wind adding to the decision to scrub the day's flying.
Friday 25th. An initially light to moderate WNW'ly veered NW'ly and increased to moderate, before backing into the W and declining to light to moderate late in the day. The decision was taken to AT off runway 24 initially behind the Eurofox, but with the increasing wind strength and consequential, turbulence, the Pawnee replaced the Eurofox after 2 launches. However, the good news was that the hill was working, thermal activity started early and there were some indications of wave activity. The launch count was 24, including 2 launches by Laurie Clarke in his DG300, amassing a flight time total of 1:29. 3 flights exceeded an hour, with Rob Bailey having 2:17 in the Discus during which he climbed to 4.500' QNH and flew the first thermal cross country of 2022, visiting Thirsk, Northallerton, Sutton Control Point S, the Tontine and Sutton Control Point S before returning to Sutton, a distance of 84 km. Rob and a number of other pilots recorded average climb rates of over 3 kts, with Colin Troise and Chris Thirkell, having the best climb rate of 3.6 kts during their 1:01 flight in the DG1000. The other pilots to enjoy > an hour were Clive Swain and Stuart Wallace who had 1:07 in K21 KLW. Climbs to cloud base were common in the afternoon while a number of pilots reported areas of zero sink with accompanying smooth air. As well as the above 3 flights of > an hour, 12 other flights had between 30 and 60 minutes, while Guy Hartland and Dave Thompson had 3 flights, including a simulated launch failure that recorded the shortest flight of the day, 3 minutes, as Dave completed his Bronze C flying tests, so congratulations to him.
Saturday 26th. The anticyclone responsible for Friday's soaring weather had shifted its position so, while blue skies again dominated, the wind had become a moderate SSE'ly, this increasing to moderate to fresh before decreasing back to moderate and veering into the S late in the day. The day's 22 ATs off runway 20 were initially behind the Eurofox, but the Pawnee took over tugging duties when the wind freshened. Lift was initially hard to find, but with the strengthening wind the southern ridges started to work after a fashion and flying in the afternoon produced 5 flights of 30 minutes or more. Chris Handzlik in his DG300 was the first to benefit, having 39 minutes as he soared the White Horse ridge at around 5-600' QFE. Later, Toby Wilson and Martin Joyce in K21 KLW found the ridge above Wass to be working, helping them to extend their flight time to 42 minutes, while Nigel Burke, with one of the day's First Flight pupils, had 54 minutes in the DG1000, including a trip along the southern ridge to Ampleforth. John Marsh and Tony Drury in the DG1000 and Toby and Richie Toon in KLW both had exactly 30 minutes to complete this particular list.
Sunday 27th. A similar day to Saturday as the anticylone remained in place over Scandinavia, so it was again blue skies and a moderate to fresh SSE'ly wind. In spite of the apparently similar conditions, lift was much harder to find, with the southern ridges not working. Consequently, flight times were mainly below 20 minutes, with only 3 flights equally or exceeding that mark, with 2 of them benefiting from high tows. Pete Goodchild and Mike Collins in K21 JVZ had 20 minutes of the last flight of the day, while John Marsh and Simon Altman in JVZ, although not benefitting from a high tow, had 21 minutes, courtesy of a thermal that retarded their descent rate rather than giving them a climb. The longest flight of the day was by Andrew Cluskey who flew K21 KLW for 23 minutes, adding a period of soaring the White Horse ridge after an extended descent from an initial high tow.