Thursday 6th to Friday 7th June 2024.

Posted: 08/06/2024 15:59

Thursday 6th.  The WNW'ly had declined to light to moderate before backing into the W later in the flying day.  A high cloud base of over 5,000' asl and strong thermals, average peak rates of up to 6 kts, meant it was the best thermal soaring day so far of the year and a number of 300 km tasks were flown.  The day's 34 ATs off runway 24 resulted in 28 flights of over 30 minutes, the vast majority, 26, being over an hour, ranging from Clive Swain/Steve Kirk's 1:03 in K21 KLW to Bob Calvert's 7:17.  7 pilots had over 5 hrs including Sam Batchelor's Silver leg in Astir DSU, so congratulations to Sam.  Sam mainly used thermal lift, but some hill  and wave soaring also featured, as it did with some other pilots.  The 300km plus pilots were Steve Thompson, Sut/Belvoir Castle/Staindrop/ Sut, 335km, Fred Brown, Sut/Tontine/Doncaster NW/Thirsk/Goole/Sut, 302 km, Chris Handzlik, Sut/Beverley/Chesterfield/York/Tontine/Sut, 302 km and John Ellis who flew 304 km, Sut/self selected Tp near Doncaster/Thi/Goole NE/Sut.  John abandoned his 332 km task late on as he did not have sufficient time to visit his last TP, Tontine.  Chris Booker in his LS1 declared a 300 km O/R to Belvoir Castle but abandoned it after getting low near Doncaster and turned for home.  With the sky improving Chris then flew to Tontine, Pocklington. Thirsk and Sutton to cover, in his own words, an annoying 296 km.  A number of pilots heading south also found conditions difficult resulting in abandonment of their tasks or engine use.  These included visitor Alistair MacGregor who flew an undeclared O/R to Ollerton, 230 km, Paul Whitehead who turned Belvoir but had to resort to his engine on the way back to Sutton, visitor Mark Player who abandoned his O/R to Belvoir and did an O/R to Newark, 238 km, and visitor Martin Davidson who used his engine near Belvoir, then flew to Saltby NW but had to again had to resort to his engine near Ampleforth to get home.  Dean Crosby's poor trace did not allow me to determine where he went on his 6:02 flight, but Les Rayment flew a 199 km task with TPs at Kirton in Lindsey and Malton and Toby Wilson visited Tontine and Beverley before landing out near Goole. Steve Scothern did an O/R to Burn in his Discus t, with wife Elizabeth attempting the same task later but having to use the engine just NE of York on the return leg.  Dispensing with a task, Bill Payton/Dave McKinney in Bill's DG1000t, first crossed the Humber to the east of Hull, spent some time in north Lincolnshire and then flew north to cross the coast between Scarborough and Whitby, remaining some 4 km out over the sea for 13 km before regaining land just south of Whitby and returning to Sutton,  Mention must also be made of Guy Hartland/Roger Taylor's 64 km flight around Harrogate N, Boroughbridge and Sutton Control point S, which included a couple of low saves. 

Thursday was not, however,  just a good thermal day and a couple  of pilots contacted wave and made good climbs.   Martyn Johnson in his DG600 visited Boroughbridge, the Ripon area and reached a maximum altitude of 8,000' asl near RAF Leeming, while BoB Calvert in his Discus2t first visited areas around Burn, Knaresborough and Boroughbridge before fully contacting the wave near Ripon and climbing to 7,800' asl.   A visit north to the Catterick area led to a climb to 9,800' asl with subsequent visits to areas around Aysgarth/Leyburn, Pateley Bridge, Masham and back to Knaresborough before returning to Sutton.

Friday 7th.  An initial cloudy start soon brightened up and, with a moderate WSW blowing, 17 winch launches and 2 ATs were flown off runway 24, the ATs being for First Flight pupils.  4 private owners flew, all contributing to the day's 9 flights which exceeded an hour, with an additional 4 flights of between 30 and 60 minutes.  Clive Swain/Tony Kirby in K21 JVZ  had 1:01 off the first flight of the day as they soared the main bowl at 1,000' to 1,400', while later in the day, Tony, this time with Graham Cooksey in K21 KLW transitioned from thermal into wave over the site, climbing to 5,800' and then repeated the sequence with a thermal/wave climb to 5,400' asl over Old Byland.  The good thermal conditions are amply demonstrated by the following photos by Guy Hartland while flying with John Forrester in the DG1000 at over 5,000' asl.


All the private owners contacted the wave, initially in an area around 5-8 km NW of Sutton and mainly went west in search of better climbs.  Dean Crosby in his LS10t differed slightly as he visited areas around Wetherby South, Garforth and Rufforth, climbing to 8,700' asl, while Bob Calvert in his Discus 2t, after spending 40 minutes hill soaring, climbed to just over 7,000'  to the NW of site, went to 9.900' asl just south of Thirsk and added another 100' NW of RAF Topcliffe, Maintaining that altitude while visiting the Catterick area, Bob journeyed to Leyburn and Pateley Bridge before returning home.  Fred Brown in his Ventus ct, also hill soared for 40 minutes before contacting the wave locally and climbing to 6,500' asl, with further climbs south of Thirsk and his highest climb to 16,300' asl near Ripon.  Visits to Catterick and Wetherby South followed before a return to site with Fred supplying the following photos.


Martyn Johnson in his DG600 initially used thermal in searching for the wave but eventually found a climb in the same area as the others before taking it to 14,000' asl just to the WSW of site.  Proceeding west Martyn found a good climb between Ripon and Boroughbridge to the day's best altitude of 19,500' asl on another great soaring day at Sutton. 

This blog describes a snippet of life at the Yorkshire Gliding Club. Why not take a flight and try it yourself, or we can teach you to fly as a full club member.

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