Sunday 14th to Wednesday 17th May 2023
Posted: 20/05/2023 15:27
Sunday 14th. After a murky start, the low cloud quickly disappeared, allowing flying to get going off runway 24 into a light to moderate W'ly, 23 ATs being the day's total. Seven private owners kept the launch point busy in the early afternoon, providing 7 of the day's 8 flights to exceed an hour, the 8th being Julian Gerretson in Astir DPO who had 1:14, generally maintaining 2,200 - 3,000' asl locally off the last flight of the day. Local soaring was generally the norm, principally due to the day's weak thermals, although the occasional use of soft hill lift was the choice of some pilots. Cross country flights included Bob Calvert's 64 km O/R to 8 km W of Leeming, Bill Payton/Sarah Stubbs covering ~90 km, getting close to Pickering in Bill's DG1000t before getting close to York East from where a 30 km final glide was flown back to site, a little climb shortly before reaching site being required to ensure a comfortable arrival height and Fred Brown's visit to Dishforth in his Ventus ct. Les Rayment in his DG800, flew 25 km southeast to near Foston, but had to resort to his engine in order to reconnect with the convection and return to site. Best climbs were in the range 4-5,000' asl, but visitor Malc Guard in his Ka6 took a cloud climb to just over 10,000' asl just to the NNW of site. In addition to the day's > 1 hr flights, 4 of the day's flights exceeded 30 minutes, the best of which saw Dave McKinney/Sanjay Nath have 44 minutes in K21 KLW using both thermal and hill lift in the main bowl.
Monday 15th. A high pressure to the SW of the UK introduced a cool, unstable and light N/NNW'ly flow that provided a good soaring day of high cloud bases, strong thermals and excellent visibility, although some shower dodging was required during the afternoon. Some pilots also demonstrated their cloud flying skills, with Steve Thompson in his Ventus bt reaching 7.300asl, visitor Malc Guard in his Ka6 reaching 7,100 asl and Bob Calvert in his Discus 2ct reaching 6,500' asl from where the following photo was taken.
A number of 300+ cross countries were flown from the day's 23 ATs, with sorties across the Pennines or down into Lincolnshire or West Yorkshire resulting. Steve Thompson in his Ventus bt and Dave Latimer in his Ventus 3M both flew a 356 km task via Rydal Bridge, Gretna Green and Pateley Bridge, describing conditions over the Pennines and around Gretna as tricky, those over the Lakes and on most of the way back as glorious, with some shower dodging required to get to Pateley Bridge. Bob Calvert's flight over the Pennines took him to the west of Shap with an approximate task distance of 220 km. Those pilots venturing to the south included Fred Brown who flew 301km via Doncaster NW, Tontine and Goole N in his Ventus ct, John Ellis in his DG800 with a 305 km O/R to Grantham, although leaving the TP proving to be somewhat of a struggle, and Chris Teagle in his Kestrel 19 who visited Gainsborough, and Wetherby, 205 km, and was another pilot who struggled at a TP, this time Gainsborough. Dave Thompson in the Discus struggled to get enough height to start a task but, when he did, successfully completed a 109 km O/R to Burn, while another Burn bound pilot, Greg Corbett taking off late in his Kestrel 19, had to make do with half of his 208 km YoYo due to spreadout. Bill Payton flying solo in his DG1000t cut an independent stance with a 262 km task via Leyburn, Haydon Bridge, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen, while Paul Whitehead in his Ventus 2cxt survived a low point SSW of Rufforth before returning to site. Chris Handzlik, taking off on the first AT of the day turned Pocklington and then Leyburn before finding a distinct lack of lift and landing out just north of Ripon, being happily retrieved by Simona Latimer and Polly Whitehead as the following photo shows.
Tuesday 16th. The anticyclone remained in place so it was another day of light to moderate NW'ly winds and occasional showers, with the sky becoming overcast at times. Runways 02 or 24 were used for both take-offs and landings with the day's AT total being 21, flying being extended into the evening by Tuesday evening group. Most of the day's flights were extended circuits with flight times of under 30 minutes, with Steve Thompson/Mark Walton's evening flight in K21 KLW being the longest of this group, their 26 minutes being the result of finding some weak lift as they tracked in a SW/NE beat in front of the main bowl. Andrew Wilmot in his ASW 19 and Bill Payton flying his DG1000t solo, were the only private owners to fly, with Andrew having 45 minutes using weak local thermals and Bill having 3:19 as he flew around 170 km doing an O/R just to the south of Doncaster. A best climb to 5,700' asl and a best average climb rate of 4 kts probably disguises the fact that conditions weren't that good, this being better reflected in the fact that an engine burn was required to avoid an outlanding while south of Burn on the return home and by the average climb rate for the whole of the flight bei;ng 1.7 kts.
Wednesday 17th. Changes in the position of the high pressure resulted in a light to moderate SSW'ly wind at site, with cloud amounts varying considerably from overcast to well broken, heavy rain arriving around 1800 hrs. 20 ATs were flown off runway 24, with landings on 24 or 20, with 5 of the launches for private owners from either YGC or the visitors from the Stratford GC. YCG private owners, visitors and club pilots all contributed to the 5 flights to exceed an hour, with the 4 of the 5 flights to be aloft for 30-60 minutes being in club gliders, the 5th being by a visitor. All but one of the above flights soared locally, with best climbs being to just under 5,000' asl. and durations mainly being in the range 1:02 to 1:17, although visitor P Fowler in his Astir CS soared for 4:18. The only cross country flight of the day was by Bob Calvert in his Discus 2ct, who followed the weather and flew to or near the following TPs. Thirsk/Borougbridge/Ripon/Burn/North Duffield/Pocklington/East Yorks and Northallerton before returning to Sutton, the above taking 5:14. Indulging in a bit of cloud flying, Bob climbed to 5,700' asl but spent most of the flight between 2,400 to 4,200' asl using thermal with a flight average climb rate of 1.5 kts, with the best being 3,8 kts. Andrew Watson/Duncan Pask in K21 JVZ posted the longest flight in a club glider, 1:17, climbing to 4,900' asl, just beating the 1:15 by Steve Ogden in Astir DPO who climbed to 3,300 asl. Clive Swain/Iain Weatherston in K21 KLW headed the list of pilots with flight times of between 30 and 60 minutes with 48 minutes flying off the penultimate flight of the day, climbing to 4,200' asl.