Tuesday 25th to Thursday 27th April 2023
Posted: 27/04/2023 20:27
Tuesday 25th. An incursion of polar maritime air resulted in a great soaring day, with high cloud bases, typically over 5,000' asl over the low ground and over 6,000' asl over the Pennines and strong and reliable thermals with best average climb rates of 4-5 kts, although Les Rament recorded a 7.1 kt average climb and George Rowden an 8.3 kt one. The Cumulus showed no sign of over-convection, visibility was excellent and the light NNW'ly wind slowly veered into the NE resulting in operations off runway 24, to avoid up-hill take offs into the light wind, with landings on 02. By the time flying came to a end around 2040 hrs, helped by the Tuesday evening groups contribution, 45 ATs had been flown, including one for a pilot from Pocklington on a retrieve tow after landing at Sutton earlier in the day. 30 of the day's flights lasted more than 30 minutes, with 20 lasting over an hour, with 10 of these by private owners, 5 by visitors from the Oxford GC and the remaining 5 by club pilots. The day also saw a number of cross countries, although the normally favoured route south over Lincolnshire was not available due to a Mauve Notam over a large area of Eastern England to allow the RAF to practice their programme of flypasts for the upcoming Coronation of King Charles 111. Four pilots flew 300+km, with Andy Wright in his Nimbus 3 flying 312 km visiting Conisbrough Castle, Thirsk and Doncaster NW, Steve Thompson in his Ventus A/Bt visiting both the east and west coasts at Scarborough and Morecombe Bay near Milnthorpe to cover 304 km, Bob Calvert in his Discus 2t flying a similar task to Steve, with the pilots reporting the use of sea breeze fronts at both coasts and Les Rayment visiting Woodall Services, Barnard Castle and using some weak wave north of Pateley Bridge to cover 303 km. Steve and Bob supplied the following photos from their flights which are in order, Keswick and Blencathra, Morecambe Bay, Scarborough and the sea breeze front over the Lakes.
In addition, Chris Handzlik flew his DG300 282 km, visiting Pocklington. Camphill and Matlock, coming to the conclusion he had underset the task after arriving back at site around 1530 hrs, while George Rowden flew 242 km around Woodhall Services and Tontine, meeting a problematical procession of paragliders just to the south of York. Toby Wilson did a quick 100 km triangle around Pocklington and Rufforth in his Standard Cirrus, while Sarah Stubbs flew her first ever completion of this task in Astir DSU, albeit somewhat slower. Dave Thompson flew around 110 km in Astir DPO doing an O/R to Burn, while Bill Payton/ Stuart Heaton flew their DG1000t around Masham, Leyburn and Carlton Bank to cover around 120 km. It wasn't all plain sailing for Chris Booker, however, as delayed by traffic getting to site, his attempt to go north was not helped by a late launch and a subsequent sticky patch near Northallerton, leading to abandonment of his original plan and its replacement by a local 130 km tour around Richmond, Leyburn. Knaresborough and Rufforth. The visitors in their Duo Discus, K21 and Ka6 all remained local as did the other YGC soaring flights with the latter represented by Craig Scott/Neil Amos in K21 JVZ, Dave McKinney/Roger Taylor in K21 KLW and Dave/Martin Joyce in JVZ, who all had over an hour on a splendid soaring day.
Wednesday 26th. The Cumulus filled skies of Wednesday had been replaced by a medium level overcast and the light NNW/NE'ly by an even lighter SE'ly, although the overcast briefly gave way to sunny skies around midday. The majority of the day's 22 ATs off runway 20 were extended circuits, but the sunny skies around lunch time allowed visitors R Markham/N Swinton in their club Duo Discus to have 47 minutes soaring, during which they climbed to 4,200' asl with a best average climb rate of 2,2kts. Bob Calvert, taking off in his Discus 2t a little later, encountered a convergence between Pickering and Kirbymoorside and climbed to 6,800' asl with a best average climb rate of 4 kts. Bob then took advantage to fly to 7km east of Carlton Bank via site, before flying to 11 km SW of site, returning home after a flight of 3:10. Bob has provided the following photos of the cloud associated with the convergence.
The day was not over, however, in terms of soaring, for, off the last flight of the day, visitors Neil Swinton/Tim Marlow in their club K21 had 50 minutes of local soaring, during which they climbed to 5,000' asl with a best average climb rate of 2.9 kts.
Thursday 27th. An occluded front associated with a shallow low in the SW approaches, made slow progress NE'ly, resulting in early, hazy brightness under a high, thin overcast slowly giving way to a thickening and lowering one, the initially light wind from the SSE tending to increase to moderate. Flying came to a halt around 1330 hrs, after 6 ATs off runway 20, with light rain arriving around 1500 hrs. The ATd were shared 4:2 between YGC's K21 KLW and the Oxford GC's K21 with the longest flights off the last two launches of the day, the only flights to exceed 20 minutes. Nigel Burke and the only First Flight pupil of the day, had 22 minutes due to finding little bits and pieces of lift on the White Horse ridge sufficient to reduce their rate of descent, while Guy Hartland/ Sue Ahern made use of the only thermal of the day to just climb back above their launch height of 2,000' QFE, and thus extend their flight time to 26 minutes.