Thursday 16th to Saturday 18th February 2023
Posted: 18/02/2023 21:51
Thursday 16th. An shallow low and its attendant fronts brought a day of low cloud and bits and pieces of rain so there was no flying.
Friday 17th. The first named storm of the winter, Otto, brought strong winds and some overnight rain as it tracked eastwards just to the N of Scotland. Leeming recording a steady W'ly wind speed of 39 kts at 0700 hrs and Leeds/Bradford 64 kts at both 1000 and1100 hrs. Although the wind then progressively lightened, the day had been already scrubbed.
Saturday 18th. A moderate to fresh W'ly and sunny intervals opened the day, but the strength of the wind delayed flying until around 1100 hrs, with the first of the day's 26 winch launches off runway 24. Bob Calvert, 2nd off in the Discus and after exploring the hill lift all the way to Black Hambledon, found little difficulty in transferring into the wave having returned to the main bowl and climbed to 7,300' asl just 1.5 km to the W of Site before topping out at 9,000' asl some 2.7 km to the WNW in his 1:06 flight. Fred Brown/Ivan Maczka in the DG500, reaching 4,100' asl via a steady climb in the same area as Bob were then then called back to site, landing after 32 minutes. Jesper Mjles/James Prosser in the DG1000 also ventured N in the hill lift and contacted the wave over Knayton in front of the forward ridge, climbing to 10,500' asl. Progressing NW'ly another climb to 11,600' asl over RAF Leeming was followed by a third climb to 11,900' asl 8 km SSW of Catterick. Jesper and James then flew S arriving at Ripon without losing any altitude before returning to site after 2:24. The following photo was taken from around 10,000' asl.
The wave then moved out of sequence with the hill with the result that for a period, hill soaring became very patchy, and no further contact with the wave was made George Rowden in the Discus struggled to get above 700' QFE for the first half of his 1:11 flight, although a higher operating height was achieved in the second half. Similarly, Clive Swain/Amelia Forrester in K21 JVZ were down at 500' QFE for significant periods of their 55 minute flight. Later the hill lift became stronger and more consistent and augmented by the wave, with Clive Swain/Stuart Wallace in the DG1000 having just over an hour during which they climbed to 1,700' QFE in front of the main bowl and then maintained between 800 & 1100' QFE as they explored the ridges up to 9 km N of site. Congratulations are due to John Forrester and Dave Thompson who both were checked out to fly solo on the new winch after demonstrating their competence via a series of normal launches and simulated cable breaks.